Estate Planning and Probate Lawyers
The estate planning attorneys at Zimney Foster provide our clients with a wide range of services. Included among these services are:
A will is a legally-binding directive detailing how your wishes regarding your property and care of minor children should be carried out after your death. The primary purpose of a will is to dictate who should receive your property at the time of your death. It also appoints the person or entity, known as the personal representative, you wish to assist in carrying out your wishes. A will also sets forth the individuals you want to care for any minor children and how assets are to be preserved and handled for those children, as well as the age(s) at which they should receive your assets. A will only covers what we refer to as probate assets; it does not address jointly-owned, beneficiary designated, co-owned or POD assets, such as life insurance.
A trust is a legal entity through which a person or entity called the Trustee receives and holds title to the assets transferred to the trust by you, the Trustor or Grantor, for the benefit of those named as beneficiaries. The trust document sets forth the rules governing the Trustee’s actions. A trust can be irrevocable or revocable. An irrevocable trust cannot be changed after it is created, whereas a revocable trust can be modified, or even terminated, by the Grantor. Some of the reasons a trust is used include the transfer of property much like a will, to assist in managing assets prior to death and to avoid probate.
Probate is the process through which the court approves your will and provides for the transfer of ownership of your assets. It includes the collecting of all of your assets, payment of your final bills and expenses and the distribution of your estate to your heirs and beneficiaries. The court will appoint the personal representative named in your will to assist the court and the estate attorney with the probate process. A will is a legally-binding directive detailing how your wishes regarding your property and care of minor children should be carried out after your death.
A guardian and conservator are appointed by the court when it is alleged that an individual is incapacitated. A guardian is appointed to supervise specified aspects of the incapacitated individual’s care, such as living arrangements, medical care and rehabilitation. A conservator is appointed to manage the assets of the incapacitated individual.
Medical Power of Attorney/Health Care Directive.
A health care power of attorney, or health care directive, is used to provide another party with the right to make health care decisions for you in the event you are unable to do so yourself. These can be general in nature or very specific as to what your wishes are, and usually, they are not effective unless a doctor determines you cannot make decisions for yourself. A living will is often a part of this document or a separate document executed to inform your attorney in fact as to what your wishes are. A health care directive, sometimes referred to as a living will, is a statutory form that is used to specify your instructions as to the use of life support, nutrition and hydration. Your instructions may be to use all means necessary to keep you alive, to provide no assistance, or to leave all decision making to your health care power of attorney appointee.
Durable Power of Attorney.
A power of attorney is used to appoint someone else to act for you when you are unable to do so yourself. This may be due to your absence, illness or incapacity and can be for a short or long term. A durable power of attorney allows the appointed party to act even though you no longer have the capacity to revoke the power of attorney. These documents are an essential part of a good estate plan.
Our attorneys practicing in the area of estate planning are: