Winchester Estate Planning Services

May 11, 2024 – Matthew S. Akers & Douglas McCarthy

Estate Planning Law Firm in Northern VA & Shenandoah Valley

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.

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