Washington DC Estate Planning Lawyer
Having the rights combination of wills, trusts, healthcare directives and powers of attorney is essential to making sure that you are properly cared for during your lifetime, and that your estate is distributed the way you want after you are gone. The Washington DC estate planning lawyers at Tobin, O’Connor & Ewing are here to make sure that your needs are met and your intentions carried out. We have the knowledge and experience necessary to create a comprehensive, effective estate plan that meets your needs.
Distributing Your Estate after You are Gone
We advise clients on every aspect of their estate and create the right combination of wills and trusts to ensure that their property is distributed according to their wishes with a minimum of time and expense in probate and the maximum tax advantages available. We take the time to sit down with you and understand your wishes for who should inherit your assets, including family members, cherished friends, or even institutions and organizations you support or admire. We also help you address the question of who will raise your children and make sure this vital topic is adequately considered in your will. From simple wills to the most complex trusts, our estate planning attorneys have the knowledge, skills and abilities to address your needs competently and completely.
Planning for Incapacity
Estate planning involves preparation not only for one’s own death but also being prepared for the eventuality of disability or incapacity, which could come on suddenly and unexpectedly or gradually as a simple fact of aging. If you are left incapacitated without having completed any advance planning, family members are left trying to figure out what you would have intended regarding your health care and financial matters, possibly making the wrong decisions or fighting among themselves. Going to court to impose a guardianship may be the only recourse in this difficult time. These stresses can be avoided with proper planning. Our estate planning attorneys create documents such as powers of attorney, advance medical directives, health care proxies and living wills, giving you the power to set out your wishes in advance and delegate decision-making authority to people you know and trust during any period of incapacity or disability.
Wills are excellent vehicles to make specific gifts of property to family, friends, and charitable organizations, including religious or educational institutions. The will is also the proper place to name a guardian to watch over any minor children who may be left behind, helping ensure they will be raised in the spirit you intended. Through a will, you can also name the executor of your estate, helping to ease the transition and ensure a smooth and successful probate or estate administration. Even if you plan to distribute most of your assets through trusts or other mechanisms, a will is important to make sure every part of your estate is accounted for and distributed according to your wishes. Our attorneys draft wills expertly to ensure they are valid and enforceable. We also provide assistance in amending, revoking or replacing older wills as circumstances change.
One of the most attractive features about trusts is that assets pass from the creator of the trust to the beneficiaries outside of probate. This means that beneficiaries can receive their inheritance more quickly and with less expense than through a will. Also, a trust is a private document, and its contents can be kept confidential, as opposed to a will, which becomes a public record when it is admitted to probate. There are many different types of trusts designed to meet many different needs, including providing for children with special needs, ensuring that proceeds will only go to a beneficiary who is responsible enough to receive them, providing for a child’s education, or even for specific tax planning purposes. Our Washington DC estate planning attorneys create the right combination of trusts for you, making sure they are accurately drafted and meet all legal requirements of Maryland or DC law.
Health Care Directives and Powers of Attorney
As important as wills and trusts is the drafting of a complete set of health care directives and powers of attorney. These documents outline your wishes regarding medical care and direct a person of your choosing to make decisions regarding your health care and finances during any period in which you are incapacitated and cannot act for yourself. When this vital aspect of estate planning is not done, such decisions are left in the hands of family members who may not know your wishes or who may disagree over your medical care or financial and legal decisions which affect you. By creating these advance directives, you ensure that such decisions will be made by someone you know and trust, and will avoid the time and expense of others having to go to court to have a guardian appointed over your person or property.
Experienced & Dedicated Washington DC Estate Planning Lawyers
For knowledgeable, practical advice and expert assistance in the drafting of wills, trusts and advance directives, contact Tobin, O’Connor & Ewing at 202-362-5900 for comprehensive assistance from skilled and experienced Washington DC estate planning lawyers.