Estate Planning

Preserve Your Legacy. Protect Your Family. Contact JDF Law Today.

No one likes to think about death. Estate planning requires us to acknowledge our own mortality and consider what will happen to our loved ones and the legacy of our life’s work when we die. As difficult as that may be, the failure to prepare for death or incapacity can have devastating and unforeseen consequences.

With a properly executed estate plan you can ensure your goals are met while mitigating risk and providing security and stability for your family and loved ones. You deserve peace of mind. Check estate planning off your to-do list today.

What Happens During the Estate Planning Process?

Estate planning may include any or all of the following:

  1. Reviewing your goals and objectives;
  2. Identifying those you want to benefit from your estate;
  3. Clarifying your charitable inclinations;
  4. Determining how your assets will be preserved and managed in the event of incapacity;
  5. Formulating a business succession plan;
  6. Establishing how your assets will be distributed upon death;
  7. Evaluating your risk for estate tax, gift tax, generation skipping transfer tax and other tax liability; and
  8. Drafting and executing estate planning documents that best meet your goals and objectives.

What Is Included in a Typical Estate Plan?

Most individuals would benefit from an estate plan that includes a Last Will and Testament, Durable Power of Attorney, and Health Care Directive. Your Last Will and Testament designates how you want your property distributed at your death, and who will serve as the personal representative or executor of your estate to ensure that your wishes are carried out. In addition, your Last Will and Testament can name the person or persons you would like to serve as guardians for your children should you die while your children are minors. If you die without a Will, your property will pass in accordance with the laws of intestacy in the state where you were domiciled at your death, which may not be in accordance with your wishes.

A Durable Power of Attorney designates an agent to manage your financial affairs in the event you become incapacitated or are otherwise unable to manage your financial affairs on your own behalf. Without a Durable Power of Attorney in place, if you become incapacitated, a court action to appoint a guardian or conservator may be required in order for your assets to be made available to provide for your needs.

A Health Care Directive both appoints an agent to make health care decisions on your behalf and allows you to provide written instructions regarding the types of health care you do or do not want to receive. Schedule your initial estate planning consultation today.

    When Should I Review My Estate Plan?

    You should consider an estate plan now if you don’t have one. If you do have an estate plan, consider reviewing that plan upon –

    What Other Documents Might Be Prepared as Part of My Estate Plan?

    Estate planning documents, other than a Will, Power of Attorney or Health Care Directive may be beneficial for you. In particular, if you would like your estate to avoid a probate proceeding, or if you own significant assets that would result in a taxable estate when you die, additional estate or tax planning may be advantageous. Some of the additional documents that may be drafted as part of an estate plan include –

    • Revocable Living Trust
    • Pour-Over Will
    • Mineral Trusts
    • Family Trusts
    • Intentionally Defective Grantor Trust (IDGT)
    • Grantor Retained Annuity Trust (GRAT)
    • Qualified Personal Residence Trust (QPRT)
    • Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust (ILIT)
    • Spousal Lifetime Access Trust (SLAT)
    • Special Needs Trust
    • Limited Partnership Agreements
    • Charitable Trusts


    Preserve Your Legacy. Protect Your Family. Contact JCF Law Today.

    Additional Resources

    As an expert on Estate Planning and Law, Janel C. Frank highlights topics related to the field in a series of informative blog posts. These are provided as a resource to the public and visitors to this site.

    Revocable Living Trusts – A Good Idea?

    Revocable Living Trusts – A Good Idea?

    A Revocable Living Trust can be a good estate planning option if the primary goal of your estate plan is to avoid probate and to provide a means to manage your assets should you become incapacitated. Transferring your property into a Trust, including a Revocable...

    read more
    Do I Really Need a Will?

    Do I Really Need a Will?

    A question that is often asked in the estate planning context is whether a Last Will and Testament (“Will”) is actually needed. The answer, like all things in life, is it depends. It is possible, depending upon your assets, how those assets are owned, and your family...

    read more
    Is Probate A Bad Thing?

    Is Probate A Bad Thing?

    Probate is the legal process by which assets are transferred out of a deceased person’s estate to his or her heirs and devisees. Probate is required in any state where real property is owned solely or as a tenant in common by the decedent. In addition, in North...

    read more