1. Estate Planning

One of the most important responsibilities we have is to provide for the support and care of our loved ones, after we have passed on. To fulfill those responsibilities, there are several documents that should be addressed now, including:

To fulfill those responsibilities, there are several documents that should be addressed now, including:

A. Wills

A will allows us to decide who takes our assets and when. It also allows us to designate who will be responsible for implementing our wishes. If we don’t have a will, the State will decide who takes our assets and a state probate court will be responsible for implementing it, a needlessly expensive and time consuming undertaking.

B. Powers Of Attorney

If we become incapacitated, we can decide who will make our financial and medical decisions by executing Powers of Attorney now. But if we fail to do so, the Court may have to do so and at our expense.

C. Directive to Physicians

In the event of a tragedy, many of us do not want to be kept alive on artificial life support systems. To prevent that from happening, we can directing our physician not to keep us on artificial life support under carefully described circumstances. Designating someone now can avoid a lot of needless pain and suffering and expense for the family.

D. Medical Power of Attorney

If you are medically incompetent, you can designate someone to make medical decisions for you. Again, this can save a great deal of hardship for you and for your family.

E. Financial Power of Attorney

In the event of a tragedy, many of us do not want to have our finances managed by just anyone. To prevent that from happening, we can designate someone to have the authority to manage our finances under carefully described circumstances. Designating someone now can avoid a lot of needless pain and suffering.

F. Life Insurance Trust

The Internal Revenue Code imposes a tax upon our estate that can confiscate as much as 35%. Often our life insurance is included in our estate for tax purposes. A property drawn will and life insurance trust can help avoid this tax and can also protect our family from creditors. All of this must be done before we pass by someone experienced in federal estate tax matters.

2. Estate Tax Audits

When we die, our executors are often required to file an estate tax return with the Internal Revenue Service. The Service will review this return and frequently audit the return and try to assert a larger estate tax liability. All of the remedies available for income tax audits (including appeals conferences and Tax Court litigation) are available for estate tax audits as well.

We have represented many estates facing these issues.