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Wills and Trusts

Legal Definition of a Will

A "Will" is a legal document with the purpose of allocating your estate upon your death.

Understandable Definition of a Will

A "Will" is your list of which person will receive either an item or items of your personal property and real estate after you have died. A will may also specify your desired guardian for your children.

These are simple definitions that do not do justice to the importance of a Will. In addition to the distribution of your property, your will may describe the manner and place for your burial or cremation; designate whether or not you would like your organs to be donated; provide for the care of beloved pets; designate a guardian for your children; create a trust fund from your assets to assure care and education for your children or grandchildren; make gifts to charities that are important to you.

Once your will has been reviewed and signed by you, when you pass on, your Will will be enforced by the Court when you pass on. The person that you named to carry out your plans will be able to use the power of the court to ensure that the plans that you made through the will are carried out. Also, you may make changes to your Will for as long as you live.

Our Attorneys will prepare your will to your specifications and review it with you. Once you are satisfied that the will expresses your intentions, Our Attorneys will oversee the proper signatures and witnesses. In addition, Our Attorneys will make future minor changes (names, addresses) at no additional fee.

Estate Planning

Estate planning involves a comprehensive review of your assets. Following completion of the review, a plan is custom tailored to fit your priorities. Such priorities may include but are not limited to: care of your spouse or other loved one for the duration of their life; care of your children or grandchildren and providing for their education; care for a "special needs" child; charitable giving; minimization of estate tax.

Trusts are very useful documents to arrange for the management and or disposal of your assets either during your life or following your death.

Trusts can be custom tailored to the client's individual needs. A consultation is required to discuss your needs with Our Attorneys. He will then describe the documents and quote a fee prior to beginning work.

Probate

For many people, the word "Probate" creates an uneasy feeling. Much of this feeling has to do with the possibility of taxes being owed. The tax issue will be addressed below, but as it turns out, is not an issue for the majority of estates. A simple explanation of the purpose and process should easy one's concerns.

What is Probate?

Probate is the ending of one's "legal" life. Each individual has a "physical" life, where he or she eats, sleeps and pursues happiness. Every person also has a "legal" life where he or she makes car payments, owns property and works. When an individual passes away, their physical life is over at the moment of their passing yet their legal life continues until it is closed. For example, bills and bank statements may continue to arrive for the deceased. These documents will not stop coming until the creditor or other business entity is officially informed of the death of the individual. Then, debt must be paid or disputed or the account must be closed. Probate is the process by which an individuals' "legal" life is closed.

How does the "Probate Process" work?

Each case is different, therefore, Our Attorneys will meet with the relatives of the deceased and discuss all aspects of the case and the procedures that must be taken. Our Attorneys will guide the family through the process with sensitivity and make his primary goal to make the process as easy as possible. However, in a nut-shell, probate works as such:

Documents are drafted for the court with information about the deceased and his or her next-of-kin. If a Will is presented, then the person named as Executor will be in charge of supplying the needed information and working directly with Our Attorneys. If no Will is available, then a relative (usually a spouse or child) will work with Our Attorneys. After the information is gathered, then a court hearing will be set. Our Attorneys will accompany the named executor or administrator to the hearing and insure that all necessary documents are submitted and signed by the judge. Following the hearing, a court order will be issued granting the executor or administrator authority to access any accounts the deceased had including bank accounts, retirement accounts, stock brokerage accounts. Also, the executor or administrator will have the right to settle or dispute any debts that are outstanding. Once all debts are paid and the assets have been distributed according to the will or to the family members, Our Attorneys will then request the court to close the case. Once closed, a creditor can no longer seek payment from the estate. Put our Attorneys' experience to work for you.

 

 

909 Wright's Summit Parkway, Suite 200, Ft. Wright, KY 41011 - Phone: 859-341-8400 - Fax: 859-344-0009
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