McCarthhy & Akers Northern Viginia Attorney Lawyers
Your Trusted Attorneys for Life
Licensed in Virginia and West Virginia

Estate PLanning & Wills

   

 

McCarthy & Akers, PLC is one of the few area law firms with the level of expertise necessary to properly assist clients with their estate planning needs. The Estates and Wills practice group is headed by J. Douglas McCarthy, the founding partner of McCarthy & Akers, PLC  Mr. McCarthy has received numerous awards for his work in Estates and Tax law.  Mr. McCarthy is also a frequent speaker and presenter on matters related to estate planning and taxation.

A proper estate plan should shield your family and your estate from costly fees and taxes while maximizing the assets that are transferred to your heirs. Estate plans allow you and members of your family to resolve the potentially complicated and emotional distribution of assets, long before your plan will be used. A recent survey by Lawyers.com found that 18% of Americans have personally experienced problems after the death or incapacitation of a loved one due to lack of or a poorly prepared estate plan. Although you may think that your family knows your wishes, the government may have different ideas.

The benefits of a properly structured estate plan are tremendous. Most importantly it can eliminate the estate going through probate.  Probate is often viewed as the meddling and interference of the court system in the deceased’s personal affairs, which often times leads to a lengthy process of distributing the estate of the decedent’s assets to the heirs. Your personal information also becomes public knowledge during probate and probate often leads to additional legal fees and taxes for the estate. This could cause the decedent’s wishes to be unfulfilled.

 

TOP 10 MOST COMMON GOALS OF ESTATE PLANNING
  1. Avoid the expense of probate
  2. Avoid the time delay of probate
  3. Keep our private matters private
  4. Avoid confrontation with unhappy family or friends
  5. Provide for your minor children
  6. Reduce or avoid Federal Estate and Gift Taxes
  7. Allows review of IRA and retirement plan beneficiaries
  8. Allow flexibility of your assets
  9. Protection from creditors
  10. Plan for incapacity

McCarthy & Akers, PLC has extensive experience in preparing estate plans.  Our firm offers our clients legal expertise in all aspects of planning for their futures, and providing for the ones they love. By assisting clients in analyzing their goals and objectives, we will provide a customized estate plan designed to meet your desires and objectives. We will work with you to create trusts, wills, living wills, powers of attorney and health care directives. The most important estate-planning goal of every client is to ensure that his or her personal matters and financial affairs are appropriately handled upon his or her death or disability.

If you’ve just set up your first estate planning appointment, you may want to prepare in advance for your meeting by gathering some pertinent information. For your convenience we have an Estate Planning Worksheet for you to use. Don’t be concerned if you’re unable to complete all the questions or locate the documents—we will go over everything together—but if you do gather them it can speed things up.

estate planning & wills inWinchester, Virginia
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The first step will be to determine whether or not you require a simple Will or both a Will and a Trust. In order to determine which estate plan is the most appropriate, we will meet with you to complete a simple profile questionnaire and discuss your objectives to assist with identifying your short-term and long-term estate planning goals.

Once we determine what type of estate plan is needed, we will prepare a first draft of the documents for you to review and discuss with your family members. We will prepare only those legal documents that are necessary to pass property to the chosen individuals in the manner desired. We will then discuss with you any changes you may want to make pertaining to the distribution of your estate. The documents will then be finalized and prepared for your signature. If you decide to establish a trust, certain assets will then need to be transferred to the trust.

This instrument appoints individuals who will make financial decisions during times of absence or incapacitation.

Another important reason to meet with an estate-planning lawyer is to establish health care directives. This is a legal document that states your wishes regarding your healthcare in the event you are rendered unconscious or otherwise unable to state your wishes to family and medical providers alike. At McCarthy & Akers, we can help you draft a health care directive that will help your family and medical providers make important decisions regarding your personal care if you are unable to do so.

By creating a living trust, clients may avoid probate. Much like a will, a living trust will describe happens to your property in the event of your death. While you are alive, you remain in control and have the power to change or alter the trust at any time. Setting up a living trust allows you to avoid the expense and long delays of probate, and may even save you money on taxes.