Estate Planning Attorneys in Winchester, VA and Throughout Northern Virginia

We make choosing a legal partner easy.

While other law firms may see you as just a number or another case, we take the time to get to know you and understand your legal needs. We will craft a solution that works best for you.

Choosing a legal partner can be as easy as 1,2,3


You don’t know how to solve your problem, but you’re afraid that you’ll be taken advantage. We are the advocate you can trust who can help you address your challenges.


Legal issues are complex. With so many obstacles in your way, it’s easy to procrastinate about taking action. You need someone with the right experience to handle your case.

Get A CLEAR action PLAN

With so many options and so much to read/understand, it’s difficult to know what your next steps should be. We will chart the path forward for your success.

Our Practice Areas

Senior Woman on Holiday Sitting on Beach Indicates the Benefits of Good Estate Planning Attorneys

Estate Planning

With extensive experience in preparing estate plans, we provide a customized plan that meets your needs and desires. From trusts and wills, to powers of attorney and health care directives, we offer our clients legal expertise in all aspects of planning for their futures.

Wills & Trusts

Powers of Attorney

Health Care Directives

Probate & Estate Administration

Elder Law & Medicaid Representation

Tax Planning

Civil Lawyers

Civil Litigation

One of the most highly skilled litigation practices in Virginia, McCarthy & Akers is your defense for all types of legal arguments. We specialize in contracts, commercial and corporate litigation, business, construction, real estate, and employment law.

Commercial & Corporate

Business & Contracts

Real Estate


real estate lawyers

Real Estate

Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer, an investor, or commercial developer, McCarthy & Akers is your real estate law team. Working closely with our Civil Litigation Practice Group, we’ll make sure that your real estate transactions are smooth and successful.

Commercial & Residential Development

Land Use & Zoning

Residential & Commercial Closings

Home Owners Associations

The Only LCPLFA Member in the Shenandoah Valley

What is "Life Care Planning" and how does it make McCarthy & Akers different?

As an elder law firm that practices Life Care Planning, we are different from other firms in our goal, our method, and our structure.

You can learn more about the LCPLFA on their website.

What You Get from Life Care Planning

Our goal is primarily the quality of life and independence of the elder, rather than the preservation of the elder's money for the next generation.


How Life Care Planning Supports Your Quality of Life

Our method is holistic rather than narrow. We can help you to navigate not only legal matters, but also broader financial, medical, and situational problems that arise in elder care.

Why Our Team is the Right One For You

In keeping with our goal and method, we've built our firm upon an interdisciplinary team, rather than upon legal specialists solely.

Navigate estate planning successfully.

You want to make sure all your financial affairs are in order, both for your sake and for your loved ones. You’re an expert in your field; why not find an estate planning expert to help you in this situation? Get the best advice to preserve your assets.

You Need Experienced Estate Planning Attorneys in Winchester

A lawyer that makes false assumptions or cuts corners in his or her research won’t make the best choices for you and won’t support you with the best advice. That’s why at McCarthy & Akers, we do things the right way: no cutting corners. We’ve been proudly serving people just like you for 16 years and counting.

Our Attorneys Will Respond to You Within 24 Hours

McCarthy & Akers has a 24 hour response policy. We know that you value clear, regular communication, and we believe that it is essential for trust-filled relationship. Our estate planning attorneys are committed to building long-term attorney-client relationships by consistently meeting your expectations in this and every other way.

An Experienced Team of Estate Planning Attorneys in Winchester

The lawyers at McCarthy and Akers, PLC, endeavor to be the best in their areas of expertise. Each team member represents you with great care so as to give you the expert legal services you deserve, in order to accomplish both your personal and professional goals. No one lawyer is an expert in all matters, however, so our attorneys work closely with each other and take advantage of each other’s strengths.

FAQs for Winchester Estate Planning Attorneys

Estate Planning:


Glossary of Estate Planning Terms

  • Beneficiary: The person or entity who receives property in accordance with a will, trust, insurance policy, retirement account, or other third-party beneficiary contract.
  • Estate Tax: A tax on the transfer of property after death. This is levied by the state and/or federal government. An estate has the obligation to pay estate tax.
  • Marital Deduction: An unlimited gift tax deduction or estate tax deduction. This type of tax law allows an individual to give assets to his or her spouse with reduced or no tax imposed upon the transfer.
  • Power of Appointment: The power granted to a person allowing him or her to dispose or designate who is to receive certain property under the will.
  • Probate: The judicial process which determines the validity of a will in a court of law and the martialing and distribution of the deceased’s estate.
  • Trustee: The individual or entity that acts as the legal owner of the trust assets. They are responsible for handling any of the assets held in trust, tax filings, and distribution of the assets according to the instructions of the trust.
  • Will: A legal document that identifies where your assets should be distributed after your death. This also gives you the ability to nominate guardians for dependent children. Without a will, the courts determine what happens to your assets and decides the legal responsibility for your kids.

What is estate planning?

Estate planning is a process involving planning for the transfer of an individual’s property after death. It involves the counsel of professional advisors, who are familiar with your desires and concerns, your assets, and family structure.

It may involve a will and / or trust and the services of a variety of professionals: your attorney, accountant, financial planner, life insurance advisor, banker, and broker.

What is my "estate"?

An estate is the net worth of a person at any point in time, alive or dead. Once an individual has passed away, it consists of all property owned at death before it is distributed by a will, trust, or intestacy laws (the laws of descent and distribution). This is the sum of a person’s assets; legal rights, interests and entitlements.

An estate may contain real property (real estate, houses, or investment properties) or personal property (bank accounts, securities, jewelry and automobiles, etc.).

What is the estate planning attorney's role?

A lawyer’s role in estate planning involves advising clients as to the options available and recommendations to accomplish clients’ objectives and assisting clients with drafting and implementing legal documents, including trusts and wills.

While lawyers are not required in order to plan your estate, it may be best to work with an estate planning attorney in ensure that your wishes are carried out. This is especially true if your estate is large, complex, or contains unusual assets.

Do I need an estate planning attorney?

Whether or not you need an estate planning lawyer to help depends on the extent and complexity of your assets and intentions regarding administration of your estate.

While it may be possible for individuals to draft some estate planning documents on their own, it is important to consult with legal professionals to ensure that your estate is administered as you would wish.

Winchester Estate Attorneys: Taking Care of Your Estate Plan

Without the proper guidance and information, finding the right person to handle your assets is overwhelming. You need an estate attorney in Winchester you can trust to take care of your estate plan.

Without an estate plan in place, you feel like you have no control over the future. Only one thing is certain; you know you want to provide for your children.

At McCarthy & Akers, PLC, we have extensive experience in preparing estate plans. We’ll create a customized plan to meet your desires and give you peace of mind.

Winchester Estate Planning Services

Navigating Your Options

When it comes to estate planning, you want to identify the best course of action for yourself and your loved ones. With so many options, it’s difficult to navigate them all by yourself.

Our lawyers will work with you to create trusts, wills, living wills, powers of attorney, and health care directives.

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, a 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 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 fail.


  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.

For more information, read our estate administration page.

We Handle Powers of Attorney

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

We Help with Health Care Directives

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.

For more information, read our Elder Law page.

Avoid Expensive Fees and Taxes

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.

Get Wills & Trusts from Trusted Winchester Attorneys

Our 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.

Read more about our Wills & Trusts services here.