Practice Areas

Practice Areas

Estate Planning

A basic Estate Plan includes a Will or Revocable Trust, Community Property Agreement (if married), Power of Attorney for Healthcare Matters, Power of Attorney for Financial Matters, a Settlement of Remains Document and a Health Care Directive also known as a Living Will. The provisions of each document depend upon the client’s circumstances. The provisions of an Estate Plan differ depending on whether the client is aging alone, is married, has a second marriage with children from a prior one, has a child with a disability, needs Medicaid planning and more. There isn’t a one size fits all plan, which is why it is important to consult an attorney regarding estate planning matters.

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Elder Law

Many people believe that Elder Law is just a matter of Estate Planning for seniors. It is much more. It includes Medicaid Issues, Veteran Benefits, Social Security Issues, Residential Care Issues, Home Care Programs, Senior Discounts and more in addition to Estate Planning matters. It’s a growing area of the law that is becoming more and more necessary as our population continues to age.

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Medicaid Qualification

The cost of care for an elder or disabled person can be overwhelming. You do not want an at home spouse to become impoverished while providing for a spouse in a nursing home. Most of us do not want to be in a nursing home if we can be taken care of at home. We all want to avoid having our siblings or parents depleting their own assets if we are unable to care for ourselves because of a disability. Medicaid programs can provide significant solutions to all these challenges.

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Probate and Settlement of Trusts

Many clients just assume that they have a simple estate and that it should be easy to settle. While that can happen, I like to tell my clients to reflect on all the challenges they have had in life. When a person passes away, the challenges end for them but they continue for whomever they chose to settle their final affairs. The process of settling a person’s lifetime of activities, relationships, business entanglements and the expenses of their final days is frequently difficult with challenging issues that require attention. Probating a Will or the settlement of a Revocable Trust is a process where all those issues are to be resolved, hopefully in an efficient and fair manner, so that there are no bad feelings among the people that the decedent cared about.

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Estate Litigation

When a decedent’s Estate Plan is not complete, then you have to take the issue to court and have a tribunal decide what the decedent wanted and whether it is consistent with what the law allows. This is where a properly drafted estate plan is critical. Not only can it avoid litigation all together, but it can minimize the areas of disagreement on what the decedent’s intent was. That allows the court to resolve the dispute with a minimum amount of cost. It allows those left behind to get past their differences.

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Guardianships

When a person suffers from a disability and does not have an Estate Plan in place, a Guardianship usually results. Powers of Attorney and a Revocable Trust are the tools that can help to avoid a guardianship. Those tools allow a person to choose who will manage their affairs, help them qualify for any benefits that they might be entitled to, minimize estate depletion and reduce the stress on the lives of the people who care about them. Guardianship proceedings are a litigation process where an individual’s freedom is being curtailed or taken away. That can be a very expensive process.

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Tax, Small Business and Succession Planning

With prior experience as a banker and my Masters in Tax, I have a unique background among attorneys as a small business consultant. I enjoy engaging in consultation with small business owners to help their businesses succeed and drafting an estate plan that has well thought out succession planning component to it.

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