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estate planning

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Let Terry Frank Law help you plan for the future. Contact us to schedule your complimentary estate planning consultation.

Planning for the future does not need to be stressful. Terry Frank Law is here to offer guidance on all of your estate planning needs, including guardianship issues for minor children, wills, trusts, business succession plans, financial and health care powers of attorney, cremation/burial instructions and LGBTQ+ specific issues. No matter where you are in life, we are committed to helping you prepare for the future and provide you with clarity and guidance you need on the issues that matter most.

estate planning services

Wills

A will is the easiest way to express your wishes after you’re gone. It is legal document that takes effect upon your death. A will can name guardians for minor children, specify your funeral or memorial wishes, identify the distribution of your assets to specific  beneficiaries and name the executor of your estate. If you die without a will, your estate will be considered “intestate” and will be distributed according to the laws of the state where you die. Wills become part of the public record and are typically subject to the probate process.

Testamentary trusts are provided for in your will and take effect when you die. The will goes through the probate process and the trust is funded with the remaining assets of your estate. A trustee then distributes the assets in your trust in accordance with the trust document.

Revocable Living Trusts

A trust is another estate planning tool that can be used in a variety of scenarios. You are the creator of the trust and empower a trustee to administer your wishes as to how and what your beneficiaries receive. The two most common trusts are revocable living trusts and testamentary/ irrevocable trusts. Revocable living trusts are created and funded during your lifetime and become operational only upon your death. You have the right to change the trust at any time and maintain ownership of the property held in trust until your death. Many individuals will retitle some of their assets (i.e., their home) in the name of the trust for the purpose of avoiding the probate process and to protect their privacy from public record.

Financial/Durable Powers of Attorney

A durable financial power of attorney is a legal document that appoints an “agent” or “attorney-in-fact” (of your choosing) to step in to handle your financial affairs should you be unable to due to illness, disability or if you are unable to be present to sign a document. A durable power of attorney become effective when the document is signed and remains in effect if you become ill or disabled and cannot act personally. A springing power of attorney comes into effect only if you become incapacitated.

Healthcare Powers of Attorney

A healthcare power of attorney is similar to a financial durable power of attorney. This document allows you to grant an agent to make decisions for your personal health care, medical treatment and residential placement should you be unable to do so. You can outline wishes for long term or hospice care, grant access to medical records, and other health related decisions. Other important planning documents with regard to healthcare include a living will, HIPAA A Authorization and organ donation directive.

  • Advanced Medical Directive, Or “Living Will”
    This estate planning document memorializes your wishes as to life-saving or life-prolonging measures.
  • HIPAA Authorization
    Most of us are familiar with this document which authorizes the release of medical records to named individuals of your choosing which are otherwise protected under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996.
  • Organ Donation Directive
    With an organ donation directive, you can express your wishes regarding the donation of your organs,   tissue or body after your death. You can also determine the extent of your donation, whether it be used for transplantation purposes only, medical research or both.

Kids Shield System

Terry Frank Law will prepare everything you need to ensure your guardianship wishes are followed, including temporary and permanent guardian nominations, letters and instructions to guardians, exclusion letters, emergency instructions and family information and wallet/emergency cards and stickers.

Planning for Blended Families

Blended families come in many forms, and often the marriage is a second for one or both spouses and there are children from the prior and current marriage. Individuals in blended families often want to provide for their current spouse and children from the first marriage, and often for their stepchildren as well. Will your current spouse honor your wishes as they relate to your adult children from your first marriage? Will your children respect and care about the spouse who is not their parent? What guardianship issues for minor children arise when the kids have different natural parents? Are there planning concerns for grandparents whose adult children are parents to both natural and step-children? Estate planning for blended families requires careful consideration of how assets are to be divided and allocated between the various family relations. Terry Frank Law is ready to help you navigate your options when planning for your own blended family.

Business Succession Planning

Many of our clients work in a family business, either having taken over from generations’ past, or built their business from the ground up. What happens when they are no longer in a position to run the company themselves? Will their children take over? Do they want to? What about spouses of adult children- should they be a factor? These are all important questions when considering the succession plans of a closely held company or family-run business. We work closely with business owners to put in place all the necessary tools to protect the brand identity and wealth they’ve worked so hard to create.

Digital Asset Management

A somewhat recent addition to estate planning considerations, the management of your digital assets has become an important component of your estate. Consider the number of online accounts you maintain, whether they be financial or social media accounts, electronic payment accounts, like Paypal or Venmo, crypto-currency, or a lucrative YouTube or Instagram account. 47 states have enacted some form of law governing fiduciary access to on-line accounts and digital property is subject to privacy laws that may make it difficult for estate administrators to access these assets. An estate plan that does not address your digital assets is incomplete. Terry Frank Law can assist in crafting your estate plan to account for these often-overlooked assets.