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Will and Trust Attorneys in Winchester, VA

Plan for Your Future.

Crafting your estate plan starts by performing a comprehensive review of your current life situation. This allows us to give you the best possible estate planning strategies and tools so that we can tailor a solution made for you.

Our Services

Our Winchester Wills & Trusts Services

Our will and trust attorneys in Winchester provide everything from crafting a will package and power of attorney to creating complex trusts and alternative estate planning documents.

Wills vs Trusts

There are a number of differences between a will and a trust. These are just a few:

  • A will goes into effect after you die, while a trust becomes active as soon as it’s created and can govern your affairs while you are alive and after your death.
  • A will is in the public records, while a trust can be held privately.
  • A trust can pass property without probate.
  • A trust provides for disability while you are alive.
  • A trust can determine terms of inheritance for minor children or beneficiaries.

How Our Will and Trust Attorneys in Winchester are Different

McCarthy & Akers, PLC focuses on you.

We believe that the best estate plans are the result of a balanced collaboration between client and attorney. No two people or families are alike, and therefore, there are no “one-size-fits-all” estate plans.

That’s why we look at each situation individually, and work closely together with our clients to create a customized estate plan for their current and ongoing needs.

We are different from many will and trust attorneys in Winchester in that our firm is focused on estate planning and has over 50 years of combined experience. Let us help you create your estate plan to protect you, your beneficiaries, and your assets.

FAQs for Will and Trust Attorneys in Winchester



What is a will? What does it do / not do?

A will is a legal document that determines who should receive your assets after your death. This document allows you name guardians for dependent children, as well as ensures that your property is distributed according to your wishes. A will may be modified or revoked during the lifetime of its maker.

Why should I have a will?

A will is necessary to ensure that your wishes are honored after your death. While its primary purpose is to distribute any property you own upon your death, it can also specify other provisions. These wishes can ensure that your spouse or partner receives all your possessions, and guardians are named for your minor children.

When should I get a will?

In most states, the minimum age to legally write a will is 18. Deciding at what age to write a will is a personal decision, but there are certain practical considerations that can help you determine the right time.

If you are married, have children, or have a positive net worth (assets exceeding $100,000), it’s almost always easier on your family to have a will or trust in place.

What happens if I die without a will?

The term for when a person dies without a will is “intestate”. Intestacy laws of the state where you reside will determine how your property is distributed upon your death. This includes any bank accounts, securities, real estate, and other assets you own at the time of death.

While intestacy laws vary, in general, each state’s laws provide a list of the decedent’s next of kin in the order while they will receive a portion of the estate. This process typically goes: spouse, children, parents (in the event the individual is single and childless), siblings.

What is a "living will"?

A living will is an advance healthcare directive. It is a document that lets people state their wishes for end-of-life medical care, in case they become unable to communicate their decisions. This living will is a set of instructions or an expression of wishes and desires that specifies the use or non-use of medical treatments and procedures that would artificially prolong life.

How do I get a will?

You can either create a will yourself or consult a lawyer. Regardless of whether or not you consult an estate planning lawyer, these are the basic steps to getting a will:

  1. Decide what property to include in your will.
  2. Determine who will inherit your property.
  3. Choose an executor to handle your estate.
  4. Choose a guardian for your children.
  5. Appoint someone to manage your children’s property.
  6. Make your will.
  7. Sign your will in front of witnesses.
  8. Store your will in a safe place.

Should I hire a lawyer to help me draft a will, or can I do it myself?

It is possible for you to draft your own will. Whether or not you need an estate planning lawyer to help depends on the extent and complexity of your assets and how particular you would like to direct the administration of your estate.

In preparing your will, it is important to meet certain basic procedural requirements; such as making sure you have witnesses when signing the necessary documents. With the proper research, it is possible to draft a valid estate plan yourself if your assets and instructions are relatively simple.

What information and documents should I gather before I contact an attorney to prepare a will?

When creating a will, most attorneys will typically ask for a list of information. This includes information birth, marriage and divorce certificates, deeds and mortgages, bank account numbers, investment portfolio, insurance policy information, your beneficiaries’ full names, addresses and other contact information, your Social Security number, and the birth or adoption papers for any minor children you have.

You may also be required to list your advisors, such as your banker, accountant, investment dealer, and insurance agent.

How much does writing a will typically cost?

For a simple estate, writing a basic will could cost relatively little amount. There is no charge for a consultation to meet with an attorney and receive a recommendation.



What is a trust?

A trust is a fiduciary relationship. It involves the transfer of property from one person (the settlor) to the control of another person (the trustee), to be held and used for the benefit of a third party (the beneficiary).

Trusts are established to provide legal protection for the trustor’s assets, to make sure those assets are distributed according to the wishes

What is the difference between a will and a trust?

A will covers any property that is only in your name when you die. It doesn’t cover property held in joint tenancy. A trust, on the other hand, covers only property that has been transferred to the trust. A will goes into effect after the death of the testator, while a living trust goes into effect as soon as it’s signed.

What is a "living trust"?

A living trust is a written legal document through which your assets are placed into a trust for your benefit during your lifetime. Upon your death, these benefits are transferred to designated beneficiaries by your chosen representative, known as the “successor trustee.”

What is a revocable living trust?

A revocable living trust is a popular estate planning tool that you can use to determine who will get your property when you die. Assets you place in the trust are transferred to your designated beneficiaries upon your death.

Revocable living trusts are “living” because you make them during your lifetime and can change or cancel the provisions at any time.

McCarthy & Akers

Office Hours
Mon-Fri: 8:30am-6:00pm
Saturday, By Appointment

Shenandoah Valley

Front Royal

135 B N. Royal Ave.
Front Royal, Va 22630


145 E. King Street
Strasburg, Va 22657


302 W. Boscawen St.,
Winchester, Va 22601


106 N. Main St, Suite 201
Woodstock, VA 22664
(Look for 106 Lawyers Row)

Northern Virginia


10432 Balls Ford Rd., Ste 300,
Manassas, VA 20109


25 S. 4th St., Suite 102,
Warrenton, Va 20186