ASSET PROTECTION & ESTATE PLANNING
In essence, a well-designed Life & Estate Plan allows you to control and protect your assets while you are alive, after you have passed away, and for generations to come. Depending on your particular situation, we can design a customized plan that will help you achieve the following goals and more:
Ensure that Your Home & Financial Assets are Protected During Your Lifetime
Control How and When Your Assets are Distributed After You Pass Away
Create Powers of Attorney, Wills, or Trusts to Ensure that Your Wishes will be Carried Out
Designate a Guardian to Care and Provide for Your Minor Children
Appoint People of Your Choosing to Handle Medical and Financial Decisions if You Become Incapacitated and Can No Longer Manage Your Own Affairs
Avoid the Costs, Delays, and Hassles Inherent in the Probate Process
Protect Your Heirs' Assets from Creditors, Lawsuits, Divorce & Other Potential Problems
Minimize or Even Eliminate Estate, Gift and Other Taxes
Prevent Disputes & Preserve Family Harmony
Pass Your Values, Work Ethic and Sense of Responsibility on to Your Heirs
Leave a Lasting Legacy
Enjoy Greater Peace of Mind
How do we help you accomplish goals such as these? Below is a brief introduction to some of the Life & Estate Planning tools that we could put to work on your behalf:
DURABLE POWER OF ATTORNEY
A Durable Power of Attorney enables you to designate a person (e.g., a spouse, relative or trusted friend) to make financial and property management decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated and can no longer handle these affairs for yourself. Beware - not all Powers of Attorney are created equally. More than half of the Powers of Attorney that we review are missing key provisions, especially provisions that will allow your loved ones to protect your assets in the event you need nursing home care or other long-term care. In addition, the laws regarding Powers of Attorney are frequently changing. We would be glad to review your Power of Attorney to make sure it is up-to-date and contains all the necessary provisions needed to ensure that you and your assets are fully protected.
HEALTH CARE PROXY
A Health Care Proxy enables you to designate a person (e.g., a spouse, relative or trusted friend) to make medical decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated and can no longer communicate your health care wishes, including your wishes regarding nutrition and hydration. In addition, it is important that your Health Care Proxy contains the HIPPA authorization language needed to ensure that your loved ones and key decision makers will be allowed access to all of your medical records when making health care decisions on your behalf.
A Living Will enables you to provide specific instructions as to what sort of "end of life" treatment (e.g., artificial respiration, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, pain relief medications, etc.) you wish, or do not wish, to receive in the event you become terminally ill or permanently unconscious, and won't survive without the administration of life support. Without a Living Will, the decision to remove life support would be left in the hands of your health care agent or family members. This can be a very tough, emotional decision for family members. A Living Will allows you to make your wishes clearly known, in writing, and takes that very agonizing decision out of your family members' hands.
LAST WILL & TESTAMENT
A Last Will & Testament enables you to direct the distribution of your property and control "who gets what" after you pass away. It also allows you to appoint an Executor to oversee the distribution of your assets and ensure that your testamentary wishes are carried out. If you have minor children, the Last Will & Testament should also designate a Guardian to care for and provide for the financial needs of your children.
Beware - If you don't have a valid Last Will & Testament, State law will determine who gets your assets and who should be appointed as legal guardian of your minor children - and it likely won't be what you would want.
When you pass away, the Last Will & Testament must be submitted to the local Surrogate's Court and go through the probate process. However, many people wish to spare their family the costs, delays, lack of privacy and frustration associated with the probate process. Instead, they prefer to set up their estates so they will pass directly to their loved ones without having to go through the probate process. If this is your wish, we would be happy to assist you with structuring your assets and setting up your estate so that it will avoid probate.
Generally, a Trust is a legal agreement between you (the "Grantor") and a Trustee to hold whatever property you place into the trust (e.g., your family home, financial assets, etc.) for the benefit of your named beneficiaries (e.g., your spouse, children and/or grandchildren, etc.). You get to choose the Trustee (depending on the type of trust, it could be your spouse, an adult child, a trusted family member or friend, etc.), and the Trustee is responsible for managing the trust property pursuant to the terms of the trust.
Trust Agreements are powerful and highly-effective tools for protecting your assets and ensuring that your wishes are carried out. They can be utilized to protect your home and financial assets from taxes, creditors (including Medicaid), and the court costs and delays associated with the probate process. In sum, with proper planning, trusts can help you maintain a certain degree of control over your assets while still protecting your hard-earned assets.
DECIDING WHETHER A TRUST IS RIGHT FOR YOU
There are numerous advantages to including Trusts as part of your comprehensive Life & Estate Plan, including the following: (1) Probate Avoidance, (2) Controlling Asset Distributions, (3) Reducing Gift & Estate Taxes, (4) Protecting a Minor's Inheritance, (5) Protecting Against Incapacity, (6) Protecting Property & Financial Assets, (7) Establishing Medicaid Eligibility, (8) Providing for a Loved One with Special Needs, (9) Privacy, and/or (10) Flexibility.
Determining whether a trust is right for you could be a complex and confusing process. We are here to assist you with determining whether a trust makes sense for your particular situation; and, if so, which type of trust would be the most effective vehicle for accomplishing your goals and wishes.
Click here to learn more about The Benefits of Planning With Trust Agreements.
THE LAW OFFICES OF MICHAEL J. AMOROSO - PROTECTING YOUR ASSETS NOW & FOR THE FUTURE
You've worked hard to earn your money, purchase a home, raise children and build a "nest egg" for the future. Now it's time to turn your attention to making sure that everything you've achieved, and the future you envision for yourself and your loved ones, is safe and secure. We, at the Law Offices of Michael J. Amoroso, have the knowledge and experience to put a plan in place that will ensure that your assets will be protected now and for the many years to come; so you can rest easy and enjoy peace of mind - knowing that your and your loved ones' future is secure.
The earlier in life you begin the planning process, the more options you will have to ensure that your personal wishes are carried out and your hard-earned assets are protected. Start securing your legacy by contacting us today to schedule a consultation to discuss your particular goals and wishes.