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Trust and Estates Attorneys

Virginia Estate Planning Lawyer

Planning for end-of-life issues gives you the control you need to maintain your dignity in a difficult situation and the opportunity to provide a legacy for those you love. A Virginia estate planning lawyer can provide you with help creating a comprehensive plan for your future. Whether your estate is large or small, the creation of an estate plan is essential, so schedule a consultation with a VA trusts and estates lawyer today.

Wills are frequently created by people of all ages, from young parents who wish to name a guardian for their children to elderly seniors who want to leave something behind for loved ones. While wills can be an important component of an estate plan, they should not necessarily be the only part of your plan. A Virginia estate planning lawyer can help you to create a valid will and use other tools to put you in control of the end of your life and beyond.

Defining Estate Planning in Virginia

Estate planning is the process of planning for an individual’s incapacity and ultimate demise. There is a lot of confusion with regard to estate planning. Often, it is the drafting of documents such as wills, trusts, powers of attorney, advanced medical directives for a client to help prepare themselves for any catastrophic events and ensuring their loved ones are provided for in advance of a catastrophic event. Some may confuse estate planning with financial planning. While there are aspects of estate planning that contemplate an individual’s finances, an estate planner often does make recommendations about investing, but rather, how to coordinate assets with an individual’s overall estate plan.

Benefit of Having a Plan

Estate planning often includes preparing for incapacity, expressing the wishes for the disposition of your assets at your death, and estate tax planning. An estate plan incorporates the creation of a will and can include other tools like trusts and the use of life insurance policies. A comprehensive estate plan allows you to transfer assets to people who you care about, while ensuring that your estate has enough liquidity to cover administration costs and taxes.

An estate plan also does much more than just address the disposition of your money and property, it also allows you to express your wishes for medical treatment, and appoint an attorney-in-fact to handle your financial and legal affairs in the event of unavailability or incapacitation. When you work with a Virginia estate planning lawyer, you create a comprehensive estate plan that allows your loved ones to know your wishes for life support, organ donation, burial, and the disposition of your assets.

A Virginia estate planning lawyer can work with you to coordinate all of your beneficiary designations and prepare for administrative costs and taxes. A well-established estate plan can ensure that you are taken care of during your lifetime, and help your loved ones efficiently administer your estate. Each estate plan should be tailored to your goals, family dynamics, and the amount and nature of your assets. A Virginia estate planning lawyer will work with you to custom-tailor a comprehensive approach to your future.

Virginia Laws on Estate Planning

Code of Virginia Title 64.2 addresses some of the laws that concern the creation of a will, as well as establishes the rules for how estates are handled when someone has passed away. Wills generally must be in writing, signed, and witnessed according to requirements set forth in Code Section 64.1-49. The laws regarding the execution of your documents can be complicated. A Virginia estate planning attorney can help you ensure that your documents are properly executed. In the absence of properly executed documents, the Commonwealth of Virginia provides default rules for distribution that may not be consistent with your wishes.

Defining the Planning Process

The local estate planning process typically begins with a questionnaire. An attorney will send a questionnaire to a client asking about information such as what financial assets they have, who they would like to serve in key positions in their estate plan and other basic information. The questionnaire is meant to be a guide to for clients to start thinking about some of the decisions that they will have to make throughout the estate planning process, but also to gather the information so that our first meeting can be substantive and meaningful.

Role of an Attorney

After receiving the questionnaire, a Virginia estate planning lawyer will have a meeting with the client to review their goals, some of the issues that may be unique to their family dynamic and their wishes. They often discuss the applicable laws and possible tax liability. Many times at the end of our first meeting, the client has made enough decisions to begin preparing documents.

It will take a few weeks to prepare documents such as the last will and testaments, revocable living trusts, irrevocable living trusts, and other tasks that affect the estate plan. The clients will then review those documents. After a few revisions or draft and the documents are finalized, the client will usually come back in for another meeting to sign or to execute all of their documents. After the plan is established, lawyers work with clients to ensure that it is funded properly and to coordinate beneficiary designations.