Estate Planning Attorney In Woodbridge VA To Help Protect Your Legacy
The best time to create a Revocable Living Trust, Living Will, and Power of Attorney is today, before you absolutely need one. These are highly complicated documents that require law firms who focus on Estate Planning. Do not fall victim to online forms because they seem easy and affordable or lawyers who do not fully understand Estate Planning.
You need an estate planning attorney to plan your future. Attorney Johnson received a Masters in Tax Law with a concentration in Estate Planning from the University of Alabama School of Law. Mr. Johnson’s top focus is ensuring families are taken care of, the cost is too great if tragedy occurs and your family is not properly protected or using an out of date will.
Take the next step now and schedule a free consultation with our office. We are highly reviewed with 30 5–star google reviews attesting to the dedication that Johnson Law Firm puts into each clients.
Estate Planning Lawyer, Woodbridge, Virginia
Estate planning can be unpleasant to talk about. Understandably, most people don’t want to think about their death, let alone plan it.
However, having an estate attorney create a plan and draft the necessary documents will ensure that your assets are protected from creditors, excessive taxes, and a lengthy probate process. You can fulfill your wishes, and you’ll have ultimate control of the plan.
By knowing that the future is taken care of, you can better enjoy the present. You do not have to worry or stress about what happens to the financial security of your loved ones if you become mentally unable to make decisions. You do not have to worry if you are no longer around to communicate your wishes.
How Johnson Law Firm, PC Helps Families with Estate Planning in Woodbridge, Virginia
Mr. Johnson’s area of focus in law school was Estate Planning. Because of his passion and interest in this field, he can provide superior legal counsel and services. He catches and corrects the errors committed by other attorneys who lack the specialization and expertise that Mr. Johnson has.
Estate Planning Areas
The goal of estate planning is to minimize taxes, eliminate court costs, and get rid of any interference that can make executing your wishes a challenge.
At the end of the estate planning process, you’ll have a legally binding document that ensures you can maintain control of your finances, taxes, and medical plans, even after your death.
During your lifetime, an estate planning attorney will also help you control and protect your assets. The lawyer can provide documentation that allows for the transfer of property and money to family, charities, and other parties.
At Johnson Law Firm in Woodbridge, Virginia, our estate planning services encompass several key areas:
According to a recent survey by AARP, 60% of Americans don’t have a will, even though most people agree that they need one. A will, also referred to as a last will and testament, is the most fundamental part of estate planning. At the very least, you should have this document prepared, especially if you have young children.
If you die without a will, then the state determines what happens to your property, which is probably not going to be consistent with your wishes.
In a will, you can set up directives for:
- Who inherits your property and assets, including contingencies
- The executor that will handle your state
- A guardian for children
- A manager for your children’s property
We also advise about and draft living wills, which will provide a legally binding document regarding your desires if a circumstance arises when you are no longer able to express informed consent.
Trusts & Trust Administration
While wills are one of the most popular ways to document one’s wishes, many people prefer trusts in the following situations:
- You want to avoid probate. Probate is a lengthy legal process in which the ownership of an asset passes from the deceased to the beneficiary. The surviving family members must file a petition with the court, and then the court must approve the will. This process can be expensive and result in lengthy delays. A trust can be a better tool because all assets are owned by the trust and can be immediately accessed by the successor chosen.
- You want to protect your assets. If your beneficiaries have an estranged spouse, then debt and unpaid bills are often involved in a lawsuit. These financial obligations must be met before they can receive any of your assets. You can protect these assets by establishing a trust and then naming the beneficiary (or another party) as the trustee, providing access to all of the assets you’ve intended for them.
- You want one or more of your beneficiaries, who are disabled and receive funds from government programs, to receive your inheritance. In a will, the inheritance counts as income and can disqualify recipients on Disability, Social Security or Medicaid from receiving benefits or lessen the amount that they get.
By having a trust, you keep the funds intact and out of the name of the beneficiary so that they can continue to receive aid.
There are several other reasons to consider a trust, including if your estate is valued at more than $1,000,000 or you’d like to leave money to a minor.
We can help you decide if you should draft a will or a trust, and then we will ensure that it is complete and actionable based on your wishes.
There are also five types of trusts to consider creating, depending on your circumstances:
- Living revocable trusts: a trust that can be changed at any time during your life
- Irrevocable trusts: a trust that can’t be changed (there are, of course, exceptions)
- Special needs trusts: ideal when a family member is disabled or has special needs
- Pet trusts: instructions and financial assistance for the care of your pets after you pass
- Gun trusts: this type of trust allows you to pass on your guns without the information going on the public record.
Trust administration is another area where Johnson Law Firm can help. Administering a trust can present a whole new set of challenges. Having an experienced attorney to help manage and facilitate the process will ensure that everything is implemented and operated as planned.
Powers of Attorney (Financial and Medical)
During your lifetime, you may need to appoint someone to make medical and financial decisions on your behalf. This person can sign for you and act as your representative in all legal matters.
For example, he or she can be entrusted to pay your bills, make decisions about your medical care, and manage your investments. Again, this idea isn’t something anyone relishes thinking about it. But having a pre-determined representative can help your family members avoid a messy court battle if the unthinkable happens and it’s unclear who should handle your affairs.
It’s also a smart idea to identify a back-up power of attorney if something happens to the primary person you designated.
Trust and Probate Litigation
Family drama happens. Grieving spouses and relatives might disagree, and disputes may arise, about how probate is being administered or how a trust is being managed.
When this occurs, the person could file a petition with the court or begin litigation to make things to happen in a way they feel is more satisfactory. These situations can lead to lifelong resentments and can be financially devastating for families. Mr. Johnson has more than a decade of experience in resolving these disputes and straightening out any messes.
If you are looking for your best chance of a positive outcome, contact Johnson Law Firm today.
The probate process occurs after a loved one passes away. It starts with filing the will in court and then managing the distribution of the assets of the estate.
There are several steps involved, including:
- Naming an executor or personal representative
- Notifying heirs
- Appraising the all of the property
- Paying taxes, and creditors (including the IRS)
- Distributing leftover funds
While these steps seem linear and straightforward, a surprising number of things can go wrong that complicate the process. Not all items in a will can pass through probate, including life insurance policies, assets owned in a living trust, and titles deemed “joint tenants with right of survivorship.”
Further, if an heir feels slighted or believes other beneficiaries are receiving more than their fair share, then they can contest the will. When situations like these occur, it’s necessary to have an attorney to help resolve them.
Estate planning and legacy planning are often used interchangeably, but there is a crucial difference. While estate planning provides a plan to distribute your assets to your family and loved ones in the event of your death, legacy planning includes this plan as well as directives to distribute assets to charitable or philanthropic causes.
With legacy planning, the goal is to add a sense of purpose to your estate plan. Hence, you’re leaving a legacy.
Get in touch today to discuss your case
At Johnson Law Firm, we offer no-cost and no-obligation consultations
Protect Your Legacy With A Gainesville Estate Planning Attorney
Estate Planning Attorney, Gainesville, Virginia
Not sure if you need to hire an estate planning attorney? You’ve come to the right place. We’ll help you decide if you need one and when to hire one.
You might have spent several sleepless nights wondering what will happen to your family if you’re no longer around to care for them. Or, you might be concerned that your beneficiaries won’t be left with enough funds after the government “takes their share.” Another nightmare is picturing your loved ones fighting over “things” and resenting each other because they can’t agree on what belongs to whom.
You don’t have to spend another sleepless night tossing and turning. By working with an estate planning attorney, you will be able to plan for every imaginable scenario and ensure that your wishes are carried out in the way that you intend.
There are several reasons why you might need to hire an estate planning attorney in Gainesville, VA. Here are the most compelling, in our opinion.
Reduce Estate Taxes
Taxes are an unavoidable part of life, and it can be frustrating to know that you could be heavily taxed even after your death. The tax burden passed to your beneficiaries can be unexpectedly high. Before they can also receive anything from your estate, those assets are subject to taxes as well.
When you work with estate planning attorney Mr. Johnson, he can reduce or eliminate taxes by setting up a trust. Many trusts can be established, depending on your situation and goals.
Most people know that they want to avoid probate, but the truth is that the majority of the US population hasn’t taken steps to prevent it.
Probate is when a deceased person’s property is distributed among heirs after paying off debt and creditors. If you don’t have a will, then the probate process is automatic. And, it is estimated that about 60% of Americans don’t have wills.
However, even with a will, your family might not be able to avoid probate. A judge must still give legal permission for the deceased person’s assets to be passed to the beneficiaries. Probate can be expensive, and it can drain the assets that were intended to provide financial security for loved ones.
There are several ways to avoid probate, including setting up trusts in advance, which removes the deceased as the named owner.
Though there are plenty of horror stories about probate, it doesn’t have to be a complicated or draining process. We can help you decide if your estate should be planned to avoid probate. We can also ensure the process goes smoothly if the estate does have to pass through probate.
Life is messy, and so is death, it turns out. Disputes among family members are likely to occur if you don’t have a thorough estate plan drafted.
Further, if you become mentally incapacitated, having your plans already outlined can prevent unnecessary and expensive court battles. All of your intentions are already legally actionable.
Protect Your Beneficiaries
There are three vulnerable groups of beneficiaries that need to be protected when you pass:
- Adult beneficiaries who are prone to poor decision-making
- Children or adults with special needs or a disability
In the event of your death, it is imperative that you have a plan that outlines how these individuals will be cared for. You will want to ensure they get the financial support they need without burdening them. For example, a beneficiary who receives government benefits could be cut off from receiving aid if your estate plan is not set up correctly.
At Johnson Law Firm, we are committed to helping your loved ones be in the best financial spot possible. This way, you don’t have to spend nights up worrying, wondering how they’ll be cared for when you’re gone.
Protect Your Assets
If you have substantial assets, you will want to ensure they’re protected. This is especially true if you are vulnerable to a lawsuit, have debt, or owe significant money to creditors. A well-formulated estate plan can be crafted that still passes all of your assets to your beneficiaries without having to fulfill many of the claims against your estate.
If you are looking for an attorney to help with your estate planning needs, contact Johnson Law Firm today to set up an appointment. Our firm’s experience is an asset to the Manassas community and can be a benefit to you and your family members. Get in touch today.
Estate Planning FAQs
As you plan your legacy, you are likely to have numerous questions about estate planning. We’ve met with hundreds of families over the years. We are honored to share our knowledge with the community.
The best way to get the answers you’re looking for is to come to our office for a free consultation. However, we also understand that you might only be looking for more information while you evaluate your next steps. We’re here to help by providing some answers to the questions we get most often.
What is Estate Planning?
Estate planning is a process that involves planning how your property will be managed and distributed during your life and after your death. The goal is to minimize taxes, eliminate court costs, and get rid of any interference that can make executing your wishes a challenge.
Why Do I Need Estate Planning?
By having a plan in place, you have ultimate control over who benefits from your estate and by how much. Documents drafted by an experienced lawyer will also minimize or eliminate the taxes that are often incurred with the transfer of property.
Do I Need a Will? Can I Write My Own?
While you aren’t required by law to draft a will, it is a good idea to have one. Not only can you control how your assets are distributed upon your death, but you will also be able to exclude specific individuals as beneficiaries.
If you have children or care for adults with disabilities or special needs, then having a will ensures that they’ll be taken care of.
In the state of Virginia, you can create something called a holographic will, which you can handwrite yourself. However, if your estate is substantial or you want to ensure that all of your bases are covered, we
What Happens If I Die without a Will?
Every state has different laws, but in Virginia, if you die without a will, the state drafts a will on your behalf in a process called “intestate succession.” In this situation, if you have a surviving spouse or business partner, they receive the assets that are co-owned, which may or may not be what you wish.
If your spouse is no longer alive, then your children would receive equal shares of your assets. For second and third marriages, your assets would be split accordingly between spouses and children.
Again, these consequences may be unintended and go against your wishes, which is why we recommend that everyone at least has a will or trust.
What Is a Living Will?
While a traditional “will and testament” outlines the directions intended by the deceased upon passing, a living will has instructions to be carried out while they’re still alive. These instructions could pertain to healthcare directives, such as if you are in a coma, terminally ill, or a vegetative state.
A power of attorney is also something that you can specify in a living will. You assign power of attorney to a person who acts as a proxy. They represent you legally, sign on your behalf, pay your bills, and manage your investments.
Assigning someone power of attorney should not be taken lightly. Make sure you trust this person unequivocally with your finances and well-being. It is also wise to appoint a back-up power of attorney if something happens to the first individual at a time when you are not equipped to find someone new.
Should I Get a Trust or a Will?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, but there are some circumstances in which a trust might be a better choice for you than a will, such as:
- You want to avoid probate.
- One or more of your beneficiaries has a disability or special needs.
- One of more of your beneficiaries is in debt, is in a lawsuit or has massive credit card balances.
- You plan on leaving a portion of your assets to a minor.
- You would like your assets to increase in value over time.
A trust does involve additional administrative work, so there’s a point at which the size of an estate would warrant a trust over a will. In a consultation, we will learn more about your financial position and goals, and then advise you on the right course of action.
Do you have more questions about estate planning? Get in touch with Johnson Law Firm for a complimentary consultation.
When to Consider Hiring an Estate Planning Attorney
If you don’t have a will or trust established yet, then the answer is now. You may also need to review your estate plan regularly, mainly if any of the following events occur:
- You or a family member begins to experience serious health issues.
- There’s been a substantial change in tax laws or government policies.
- You or a beneficiary has had a significant change in liquidity or net worth.
- A child is born, or a new beneficiary needs to be added to your estate plan.
- You move to a new state.
- You get married or divorced.
- You become involved with a charity that is important to you.
If you are looking for an attorney to help with your estate planning needs, contact Johnson Law Firm today to set up an appointment. Mr. Johnson understands that these issues are sensitive and require care and expertise. Our firm’s experience is an asset to the Woodbridge community and can be a benefit to you and your family members. Get in touch with us today.
We hear it all the time, everyone thinks they need a Will. What most people do not know is that a last will and testament is like in the modern digital era. A revocable living trust is like laptop that provides you modern options to achieve your goals. Your family needs to have revocable living trust in place along with a power of attorney and living will.
There are many attorneys who have plug and play forms that they are willing to complete on your behalf, but these inaccurate forms will not cost your family in the long run. Even the highest rated online sites that claim to create wills that are affordable can end up costing you or your loved ones thousands of dollars and years stuck in probate. Please do not fall victim to the easy way out.
Mr. Johnson does his best to listen carefully and explain every aspect of the estate planning process to you. Estate planning is complicated and takes a lawyer who truly understands every aspect to ensure your family is protected and taken care of.
Mr. Johnson received a masters in tax law with a concentration in estate planning from the University if Alabama school of law. The Johnson Law Firm is highly reviewed on google with 30 5-star reviews. We offer a free consultation for anyone interested in creating an estate plan for their family.
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