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In short, proper Estate Planning allows you to plan for potential future incompetency and your eventual death while allowing you to maintain control over your decisions and assets as long as possible. More specifically, Estate Planning is the process by which you select and create the appropriate legal documents to accomplish three goals: first, to identify who will assist you with financial and medical decisions if you are unable to make these decisions yourself; second, to identify your wishes regarding end-of-life medical care; and, third, to identify not only who will receive your assets upon your death but also how they will receive those assets, when they will receive them and who will manage the transfer of those assets. In some cases, a fourth purpose of estate planning is to legally and ethically minimize or eliminate estate taxes that might otherwise be levied on your estate.
Do I Need an Estate Planning Attorney?
Since most Estate Planning documents are not used until you have been declared incompetent by your doctors or until you have passed on, it is vital that these documents be prepared and executed properly. Once you are incompetent or have passed on you cannot make any changes to these documents. Therefore, it is vital that these documents be drafted by an Estate Planning Attorney who has extensive training and experience in Estate Planning - not just an attorney who prepares Estate Planning documents as one of many areas of practice.
What if I Need to Update My Estate Plan?
If you already have an Estate Plan, it is important to update your Estate Plan as your life situation changes. As children become mature, responsible adults, as your parents pass on, as your financial situation changes, your Estate Plan may need to be reviewed and updated. Furthermore, periodically, Estate Planning and Estate Tax laws change, sometimes necessitating updates. You do not need to use the same attorney to review and update your Estate Plan that you used to originally draft your Estate Plan. Larreau & Lythgoe’s Estate Planning Attorney, Addison D. Larreau, has review and update Estate Plans for hundreds of clients that had their original Estate Plans drafted by other attorneys. Larreau & Lythgoe does not charge a consultation fee to review an Estate Plan and to advise a new client whether updates or changes are needed.
Why Should I Work With Larreau & Lythgoe?
Larreau & Lythgoe’s Estate Planning Attorney, Addison D. Larreau, has dedicated his career to excellence in Estate Planning and the related area of Business Planning. Each year, Addison attends seminars and classes that will expand his knowledge and skill in assisting Estate Planning and Business Planning clients. Addison has drafted hundreds of Estate Plans for clients living not only in Utah but also for clients residing in many other states. Addison’s clients have very diverse backgrounds, ranging from students to presidents of large corporations, from very modest estates to multimillion dollar estates, from young parents to great grandparents. Addison’s extensive experience and education is a valuable resource in helping his clients craft thoughtful and efficient Estate Plans.
Addison views his role as an Estate Planning Attorney as twofold: first, he is an educator, helping clients understand what options that they have and how different types of Estate Planning documents might benefit them; and, second, Addison is an advocate, skillfully drafting the necessary Estate Planning documents, helping the clients understand the documents and only then assisting the clients in properly executing the documents.
Addison’s approach to Estate Planning is unique among Estate Planning Attorneys in the following ways:
1) Addison spends significant time with his clients educating them about the available Estate Planning documents and explaining how each document functions and the interrelation of the various documents before assisting the clients in selecting proper Estate Planning documents necessary for their unique situations. Addison will educate and advise his clients but he will not simple “sell” his clients a “one size fits all” Estate Plan.
2) Addison reviews the Estate Planning documents in great detail with each client prior to assisting his clients in signing the documents. This ensures that each clients’ documents are complete and accurate and that the client fully understands his or her Estate Plan prior to signing the Estate Planning documents. Any changes that a client needs or wants can be made while they are in the office so that there are no unnecessary delays in signing their Estate Plan.
3) At the time his clients sign their Estate Plan, Addison teaches them how to maintain their Estate Plan without the need to have an attorney’s assistance every time they buy or sell property. Addison educates his client regarding how to properly manage real property, vehicles, business interests, financial accounts, retirement accounts, life insurance polices and personal property so as to maximize the benefit from their Estate Plan and to minimize potential estate taxes. Addison also is available at no additional charge to answer questions regarding his clients’ Estate Plans even if the clients’ have questions that arise years after the signing of the Estate Plan.
For a free consultation with Addison regarding your unique Estate Planning needs.
Please contact Larreau & Lythgoe at (801) 393-5555.
What is a Living Trust?
A Trust is a contractual arrangement under which one person, called a Trustee, holds legal title to property for the benefit of another person or persons, called Beneficiaries. The person creating the Trust is called the Grantor. Different kinds of Trusts can help you avoid Probate, reduce or eliminate estate taxes, or set up long-term property management and provide for the care of minor children or other dependents. A Trust may be revocable and amendable or may be irrevocable and not amendable. A Trust is the foundation of a good Estate Plan for almost everyone.
[READ MORE ON LIVING TRUSTS]
What is A Will?
A simple way to ensure that your funds, property and personal effects will be distributed after your death according to your wishes is to prepare a Will. A Will is a legal document designating the transfer of your property and assets after you die. Usually Wills can be written by any person over the age of 18 who is mentally capable, commonly stated as "being of sound mind and memory." Wills must be taken to Court and Probated after you have passed on in order for your wishes to be honored.
[MORE ON WILLS]
What Happens if You Can't Make Your Own Decisions?
Most people think of estate planning as something that really doesn't bear fruit until they are dead, but technology has changed this. Modern medicine can now keep many people alive indefinitely who would have died a few years ago. While these people are alive, however, they are not necessarily able to take care of themselves. Today, a good estate plan must take into account the possibility that you may someday be unable to care for yourself, make decisions, or even regain consciousness--but remain alive.
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Larreau & Lythgoe, PC's
Mountain View Law Group
289 - 24th Street, Suite 150
Ogden, Utah 84401
Attorneys and Counselors at Law