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Probate Law and Estate Planning

When a loved one passes away, we understand that it is a difficult transition and situation that you and your family members need to go through.  We are here to provide legal assistance, information and to answer any questions you may have.  It is important to contact us without delay as there are important deadlines to take into consideration with or without a last will.

Probate:  Probate is about the orderly distribution of the estate of the decedent.  We will work with you from filing the will with the District Court to securing the final order.  The personal representative or executor will be responsible for many tasks, including collecting the assets of the estate, paying bills and taxes, securing the residence and real property of the estate, arranging the probate of the will with the District Court, and other related matters.  

We will handle the legal matters of preparing and filing the necessary pleadings and documents with the District Court, sending out required notices, preparing estate inventory list and settlement agreement, obtaining consent and waivers, handling settlement of all expenses and debts of the estate, obtaining the appraisals, working with your accountant in doing the income taxes and estate tax return and handling other matters as needed.  

In some probate situations, there may be difficulty with a certain family member or heir not agreeing; a challenge to the will; unexplained debt situation or contract obligation; or unexpected problem with division of the estate assets.  We will strive to work with you to resolve these matters during this difficult transition time.  In some situations, we will attempt to use family settlement agreement as a mean of equitable distribution of the estate assets.   Some heirs may need to retain another probate attorney if they feel that their rights are protected in the equitable distribution of the estate assets.   

Estate Planning:  In addition to drafting simple and complex wills, we believe estate planning is an essential tool. Among the services we offer are:  discussing the mean of avoiding probate through trust, joint tenancy, and other estate planning tools;  searching for ways to minimize estate taxes (see warning notice below); ensure the continuity of a family business; establishing an irrevocable trust; and establishing a revocable living trust.    

Medicaid Planning:  This is an important area for those senior citizens who may need to enter assisted living centers or nursing home in the near future.  Medicaid will pay for the high monthly costs of these facilities only if the senior citizen meets certain asset requirements (which is very low).  For some senior citizens, it may take 5 years of planning to ensure that the senior citizen does qualify for Medicaid.   It is important to meet with us as soon as possible to discuss the option of Medicaid Planning. 

ESTATE TAX WARNING NOTICE:  Unless Congress manages to pass an amendment to the Internal Revenue Code, beginning in 2011, the Federal estate tax exemption will revert back to $1,000,000 and estate tax can easily reach 55% of all amounts of the estate valuation exceeding $1,000,000.  If you have assets totaling more than $1,000,000, it is time for you to contact an attorney in estate planning to minimize the impact of the estate tax reversion beginning in 2011.

***Disclaimer: This web site is designed for general information only. The information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.