Washington DC Estate & Succession Planning Lawyer
Estate planning is something far too many put off until it is too late. And a comprehensive estate plan includes more than just a last will and testament. It involves looking at your long-term objectives for you, your family, and your assets. For example, who will run your business if you are incapacitated? Who will look after your children if you and your spouse pass away suddenly? What is the best way to minimize your family’s tax burden after your death? Estate planning can help you answer these and many other questions.
The Washington DC estate & succession planning lawyers at Henault & Sysko Chartered offer a full range of legal services related to not only the drafting of estate planning documents, but also to probate and trust administration. We can advise you and your future executor or other agents as to how DC laws work in this area. And we will make every effort to ensure your estate plan reflects your wishes.
What Estate Planning Documents Do I Need?
Some people think when they die, everything they own will just automatically go to their loved ones. Although DC law does provide for cases of intestacy–dying without leaving a last will and testament–this is rarely an ideal outcome. For one thing, even when there is no written estate plan, there is still a probate process that must be followed. By having an estate plan in place, you can ensure that the people you trust are in charge of that probate process.
Here are the most common types of estate planning documents we prepare for our clients at Henault & Sysko Chartered:
- Wills– In its most basic form, a will names certain beneficiaries to receive your property after your death, an executor to manage the estate during the probate process, and guardians for any minor children who survive you.
- Trusts– A trust is where you give property to a trustee for the benefit of one or more beneficiaries. You can actually create a trust while you are still alive, and assets you place in such a trust does not have to go through the probate process. There are other kinds of trusts that may also provide certain tax benefits for you and your family.
- Powers of Attorney– While a will names someone to manage your property after you die, a power of attorney appoints an agent to act on your behalf while you are still alive. A Statutory Durable Power of Attorney is a specific document recognized under DC law that names someone to manage your assets and business affairs if you are unavailable or incapable of acting for yourself.
- Healthcare Advance Directive– Similar to a financial power of attorney, a healthcare advance directive allows you to name an agent (or proxy) to make medical decisions for you if you become incapacitated. An advance directive also includes a living will, which provides end-of-life care instructions for your healthcare providers.
Contact Henault & Sysko Chartered Today If You Need Probate or Estate Planning Advice
Whether you are someone looking to make or revise an estate plan, or an executor or family member who needs to open a probate estate, the lawyers at Henault & Sysko Chartered can help. Our DC estate planning and succession lawyers have extensive experience with probate matters. Call us today at 410-768-9300 to schedule an initial consultation so we can sit down and learn more about your situation.