Estate Planning and Probate Administration

ESTATE PLANNING

Everyone needs an "Estate Plan". The complexities of that plan and the documents it includes will depend on the client's family needs and assets. The Firm's Estate Planning practice includes all aspects of estate planning from the simple to the sophisticated.

Documents which are often included in a simple estate plan are Wills, Powers of Attorney and health care documents.

  • A Will generally provides for the disposition of the decedent's property, the appointment of Executors (the individuals who will administer the decedent's estate) and Guardians (the individuals who will care for the decedent's minor children). Without a Will, state statutes determine who receives the decedent's property. The recipients will depend on the relatives of the decedent who are alive at the decedent's death. In Kentucky, surviving spouses typically do not receive all of the decedent's property.
  • A Power of Attorney gives another individual the power to access the grantor's assets and to make decisions for the grantor.
  • Health care documents designate individuals authorized to make health care decisions for an individual when that person is unable to make decisions for himself or herself. Health care documents may also describe the health care decisions which are required.

Trust Agreements are often also included as part of an estate plan. These agreements are used to maximize estate tax savings or to provide for the care of young and other special need children and other relatives. Trust Agreements can be designed to provide for the specific needs of a client and the client's family.

Estate planning also includes advice with respect to gifts, life insurance policies and beneficiary designations. Sophisticated estate planning can also include charitable remainder trusts and other charitable giving, grantor retained interest trusts, family limited partnerships or limited liability companies and other techniques designed to reduce a client's estate tax exposure.

PROBATE

Probate is the process by which a decedent's probate assets are transferred to the individual or entity entitled to receive those assets under the terms of a decedent's Will or pursuant to applicable law if the decedent did not otherwise provide for the disposition of his or her property. This involves court filings and the preparation of income, inheritance and estate tax returns. These returns are often required whether or not a decedent's death requires "probate.” The Firm is well versed in the probate process as well as the tax issues, tax planning issues and tax returns which often arise in connection with a decedent's death.