Estate planning requires careful analysis and thoughtful planning for the conservation, protection, and distribution of assets; determination of tax consequences; and preparation of precise legal documents that will help you accomplish your objectives. With more than 25 years of experience in private practice handling primarily trust and estate matters, Brad Lushbaugh will listen to your personal goals and requirements, review information regarding your assets and the documents that you currently have in place, if any, and will help you formulate and execute a comprehensive estate plan. He will also provide guidance regarding trust administration matters including, but not limited to, fiduciary duty, taxation, and distributions of property.
While more sophisticated estate planning strategies may include utilizing revocable trusts in order to avoid probate, and irrevocable or testamentary trusts for asset protection, most estate planning will at least include: a will; durable powers of attorney for financial and health care decisions; advance health care directive; asset re-titling and, in some cases, real estate transfers; and beneficiary designations for bank accounts, IRAs, annuities, and life insurance. Other issues that should be reviewed and considered include: homestead issues; spousal rights; personal representative and successor trustee selection; gifting; and, of course, beneficiary distribution provisions.
Probate should not be necessary when a revocable trust is effectively drafted, executed and funded prior to death in order for estate assets to circumvent the probate process while passing directly to the specified beneficiaries. Probate may not be necessary for some small estates, without any unpaid debts or any personal representative appointed in any state, if all of the heirs agree to execute and file an Affidavit for Collection of Small Estate by Distributee. However, when probate is necessary, Brad Lushbaugh and his staff can assist you with filing the Will, proving that it was validly executed with all testamentary formalities, providing legal notices to all interested parties, settling claims, paying expenses, and distributing property to the appropriate parties.