Estate Planning

stock-photo-9598917-estate-planning[1]Estate Planning is the accumulation, preservation and distribution of your wealth.  Sounds simple, doesn’t it?  But surprisingly, it isn’t.  Unless you make your wishes known precisely in the proper legal document, instead of your hard-earned wealth going to your intended beneficiaries, your family and other loved ones, it can go to unintended beneficiaries of your wealth.  These unintended beneficiaries of your wealth can be the federal government, the probate court, disgruntled in-laws or greedy heirs.  That’s why you want to actively engage in estate planning ahead of time, years prior to disability or death.  Otherwise, you may leave it up to unintended beneficiaries to write your estate plan for you.

One misconception is that estate planning is concerned with your financial affairs only after you die.  But if you become mentally incapacitated and can no longer handle your own financial affairs, the courts may have to appoint someone to manage them for you.  That’s why a will, by itself, is not a proper estate plan.  A will only takes effect after you die and your will is accepted by the probate court.  Proper estate planning includes lifetime management documents, such as powers of attorney and healthcare documents, to ensure a seamless transition of your affairs in case of disability as well as after you die.

Another misconception is that an estate plan built around a will is the only appropriate type of estate planning for most of us.  However, many of us can avoid the possible costs, hassle and publicity of the probate process, which is necessary for validating a will, through the use of a complete will substitute, the Revocable Living Trust.  A complete estate plan built around a Revocable Living Trust can be a substantial savings for your family, either during your disability or after your death, while providing a seamless management of your assets with 100% privacy.  With a Revocable Living Trust, there is no need to have your estate, the assets you owned, or the terms of how you’ re leaving your wealth to your loved ones become a matter of public record.

By engaging an experienced estate planning lawyer in your estate planning, you have hired someone with the necessary experience to go over various estate planning options with you and help you discover the right approach for you.

Please contact Attorney Richard Phillips at or (571) 208-0425 if you want to discuss your estate planning needs.

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