Estate Planning, Administration & Wills

Overview

Estate Planning

Smith Debnam’s estate planning attorneys represent individuals, couples, families, business owners, trusts and fiduciaries in:

  • Estate planning and preservation
  • Tax planning
  • Wealth transfer
  • Estate administration matters

With a well-drafted estate plan in place, our clients can be assured that their estate passes to whom they want, when they want, and is carried out in the client’s intended manner. Working with a Smith Debnam estate planning attorney ensures one’s wishes will be carried out in the most effective and efficient manner so the family will not have to endure difficulties that may arise from not having planned ahead. Some tailored estate plans may include:

  • Drafting last wills and testaments and trusts for minor children
  • Preparing living wills, health care powers of attorney and other advance directives
  • Planning for asset management and preservation through the use of powers of attorney or a living trust
  • Establishing life insurance trusts to protect assets and minimize tax burdens
  • Drafting credit shelter, generation-skipping and special needs trusts
  • Developing lifetime gifting and marital or charitable deduction trusts to minimize or defer estate, gift and generation-skipping transfer taxes
  • Maximizing estate, gift and generation-skipping transfer tax exemptions
  • Planning for the disclaimer of estate and trust assets
  • Implementing tax saving gifting plans
  • Creating family limited partnerships and limited liability companies
  • Formulating business continuation plans that preserve family ownership and control of family businesses, or the planned disposition of such businesses to continuing shareholders
  • Structuring favorable retirement plan and IRA distributions

Our estate planning attorneys also concentrate on making it possible for clients to maintain control over their health care and financial affairs for as long as possible by planning in advance of disability. This is done through health care instruments such as powers of attorney, living wills and other health care directives. By preparing these documents, clients are able to let their desires be known and to name an agent to act on their behalf and carry out their desires if they are unable to do so themselves. These planning procedures can spare loved ones much hardship and stress during an already difficult time.

Administration & Wills

An estate plan is only effective if it is properly administered. The estates and trusts administration attorneys at Smith Debnam assist individual and corporate fiduciaries of estates and trusts in matters of probate, estate, and trust administration. If your loved one had a Will, the family will go through a process called probate. If your loved one had a Trust, the family will go through a process called trust administration. Our attorneys guide executors, administrators, guardians, trustees and beneficiaries throughout the entire estate administration and settlement process, by:

  • Initiating probate proceedings with the proper authority
  • Collecting the needed information to prepare income and estate tax returns
  • Advising on the accounting and tax treatment, and valuing the estate assets
  • Choosing the most beneficial tax elections, deductions and estate payment vehicles
  • Ensuring payment of claims, expenses and taxes
  • Proper disposition and distribution of the estate assets

If your family has experienced the loss of a family member, our attorneys can assist with legal matters to save you time and prevent losses or missteps from being made in order to preserve the wishes of the deceased and to spare loved ones additional stress during an already difficult period.

Estate Planning
  • Drafting last wills and testaments and trusts for minor children
  • Preparing living wills, health care powers of attorney and other advance directives
  • Planning for asset management and preservation through the use of powers of attorney or a living trust
  • Establishing life insurance trusts to protect assets and minimize tax burdens
  • Drafting credit shelter, generation-skipping and special needs trusts
  • Developing lifetime gifting and marital or charitable deduction trusts to minimize or defer estate, gift and generation-skipping transfer taxes
  • Maximizing estate, gift and generation-skipping transfer tax exemptions
  • Planning for the disclaimer of estate and trust assets
  • Implementing tax saving gifting plans
  • Creating family limited partnerships and limited liability companies
  • Formulating business continuation plans that preserve family ownership and control of family businesses, or the planned disposition of such businesses to continuing shareholders
  • Structuring favorable retirement plan and IRA distributions
Administration & Wills
  • Initiating probate proceedings with the proper authority
  • Collecting the needed information to prepare income and estate tax returns
  • Advising on the accounting and tax treatment, and valuing the estate assets
  • Choosing the most beneficial tax elections, deductions and estate payment vehicles
  • Ensuring payment of claims, expenses and taxes
  • Proper disposition and distribution of the estate assets
Shape919.250.2000 Shapemail@smithdebnamlaw.com noun_20940@smithdebnamlaw