After more than 25 years as an estate planning attorney, Todd Rossman possesses a wealth of experience in providing a broad range of services to clients with estates small and large, standard and complex. Here is a link to our Estate Planning Information form for you to complete as best you can and bring with you when you come in for an appointment. If you are not certain how to respond to any of the information requests, just leave that section blank and we can talk about it when you come in.
Every adult should have a Will. Even clients with relatively small estates should have a Will in order to identify who will have the authority to administer their estate and how their estate will ultimately be divided and distributed following their death. Without a properly drafted Will, such decisions will be left up to rigid and limiting state law provisions or court discretion. Clients with minor or incapacitated children can appoint who will be their legal guardian(s) in the event of the client’s death in order to avoid potential family disputes over who will be appointed. Even clients with revocable living trust- based estate plans should have a Will in order to make sure that all assets that should pass to their heirs and beneficiaries under the terms of such trusts actually get into the trust.
Trusts can be used in estate planning to accomplish a wide range of purposes in the formulation of an effective estate plan:
– Avoiding Probate: Properly funded revocable living trusts can be used, where and when appropriate, to provide an effective management vehicle for your assets in the event of your incapacitation and to avoid probate at death, including ancillary probates of out-of-state property. We can provide you with an honest analysis of the advantages and disadvantages of such trusts and other alternatives to them that may be available in your situation.
– Second Marriage Planning: Irrevocable marital trusts can be helpful in the second marriage situation in making sure that your spouse is provided for in the event of your death while ensuring that the remainder of your estate not directed to or used by your spouse will ultimately pass to your heirs rather than a new spouse or your spouse’s heirs.
– Asset Protection for Beneficiaries: Assets can be held in trust for the benefit of young or financially irresponsible beneficiaries or beneficiaries with creditor problems.
– Asset Protection for Yourself: In certain situations, irrevocable trusts can be used to protect assets from the high costs of long term care or other potential future liabilities.
– Special Needs Planning: Special or Supplemental Needs Trusts can be useful for holding assets inherited by, gifted to, or otherwise directed to disabled individuals without affecting their eligibility to receive SSI and/or Medicaid benefits.
– Multi-Generational Planning: Holding assets in trust for the benefit of present and future generations of your descendants following your death can allow you to establish a family legacy benefiting future generations.
– Estate and Gift Tax Planning: A wide variety of trusts such as credit shelter, Q-tip trusts, irrevocable life insurance trusts, personal residence trusts, charitable remainder trusts, and grantor retained annuity trusts can be useful to reduce or eliminate potential estate and/or gift taxes on large estates.
– Charitable Planning: Charitable trusts or bequests can be used to help reduce or eliminate estate, gift and inheritance taxes and also to help you establish a charitable legacy benefitting charities of your selection or creation.
– Gun Trusts: Gun Trusts are used to hold firearms and other related items that are restricted under the National Firearms Act (NFA). An important consideration with Title II weapons under the NFA is the criminal liability that can potentially arise from the improper purchase, possession, constructive possession, transfer and sale of such items. A properly drafted and administered gun trust can help reduce the risk of running afoul of the NFA by allowing you to identify, restrict and control who has the authority to use and possess such weapons during your life and following your death.