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are taken care of, the cost is too great if tragedy occurs and your family is not properly protected or using an out of date will.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.

Practice Areas

At Johnson Law Firm in Woodbridge, Virginia, our estate planning services encompass several key areas:

Wills

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:

  1. Living revocable trusts: a trust that can be changed at any time during your life
  2. Irrevocable trusts: a trust that can’t be changed (there are, of course, exceptions)
  3. Special needs trusts: ideal when a family member is disabled or has special needs
  4. Pet trusts: instructions and financial assistance for the care of your pets after you pass
  5. 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.

Probate Administration

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.

Legacy Planning

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.

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.