We assist clients in the development and implementation of comprehensive lifetime estate plans that carefully balance personal and administrative concerns, including:
- Irrevocable and revocable trusts
- Durable powers of attorneys
- Health care proxies
- Living wills
Although there are no laws that require the assistance of an attorney is estate planning, there are good reasons to hire an attorney with experience in estate planning. Here are a few:
A generic form will or trust probably has not taken into account the legal requirements of Vermont. It also will not take into account the individual wishes of the drafter. In the long run, a "do-it-yourself" will or trust may be more expensive than consulting a lawyer. For a trust to be effective it takes more than simple drafting: the assets must be transferred into it. Without proper legal assistance, all of the tax benefits of using a trust can be lost.
Ignoring the issue of estate planning will result in your estate being distributed by the probate court in the manner imposed by law. You will have no say in how your estate will be distributed or who the administrator will be. Although you may think that it will all pass to your spouse, depending on the size of the estate, your spouse may get less than you intended him or her to receive with the rest being held by a guardian for your children. If you want to direct the passing of your assets at death, name an executor, and keep taxes and expenses to a minimum, you need to look into estate planning with an experienced attorney.