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Arlington Trust and Estates Lawyer

Many individuals could benefit from speaking with a trusts and estates lawyer. Whether you are dealing with a relative’s estate after they pass away or need to create a will or trust to transfer assets to your children, an estate planning lawyer can help.

If you need professional guidance to create a will or trust or need help administering an estate in probate court, schedule an appointment with an Arlington Trust and Estates lawyer today. An established trusts and estates lawyer can help you create a plan that is right for you.

Wills and Trusts in Estate Planning

Wills and trusts are the core documents of many estate plans. These two documents can transfer nearly any type of asset after a person’s death and are often used together to accomplish a person’s wishes for the disposition of his or her assets after death.

Wills

Wills are an integral part of a comprehensive estate plan. A Last Will and Testament is the document that provides for the transfer of assets in an individual’s sole name without a joint owner or beneficiary designation to a decedent’s loved ones. While other estate planning tools, like trusts, can also transfer property, a Last Will and Testament acts as a catchall that will distribute any assets that were not included in a trust.

Trusts

A trust is a legal entity that can hold property and transfer it to a person’s loved ones without having to subject the property to the probate proceeding. There are multiple types of trusts in Virginia, including some that take effect during the grantor’s life and others that don’t take effect until after death. Trusts can allow a person to protect assets from creditors, prevent heirs from wasting assets, give conditions on receiving the benefits, or provide for the care of a disabled person or minor.

Gift and Estate Taxes in Arlington

Part of trusts and estates lawyer’s job is to understand and implement strategies that take advantage of state and federal tax exemptions. By using gift tax exemptions and estate tax exemptions, a person can lower the taxable value of their estate as well as the amount of estate taxes their heirs will owe. A trusts and estates attorney may recommend that a person creates a trust, schedule charitable donations, plan gifts to family members, or purchase life insurance in order to take full advantage of these exemptions.

Probate and Estate Administration

When a person dies, the individual’s assets that are solely in their name will be administered through probate before that person’s heirs receive any distributions. The probate process involves the court supervising the administration of the estate, from paying the deceased’s final creditors and taxes to distributing property to relatives.

The court also supervises the executor of the estate in this process. The executor might be named in the deceased’s wills, or a judge may appoint one of the deceased’s heirs. An attorney can help the executor and the family through the probate process by preparing an inventory of the assets, filing legal forms, preparing estate tax returns, creating a plan to pay the decedent’s legally enforceable debts, and distributing assets.

Additionally, a trusts and estates lawyer might be required if anyone challenges the validity of a will, trust, or other estate planning document. When there are competing versions of a document or there are allegations that someone coerced the deceased into giving them property, a lawyer may be necessary to litigate these issues and argue the family’s position to the probate judge.

Talk to an Arlington Trust & Estates Attorney Today

Planning your estate can give your family financial stability in the future and help you have peace of mind. If you want help with the probate process or need to create a will, trust, or other estate planning document, schedule an appointment with an Arlington trusts and estates lawyer now.