In firm news, the Norton Pelt team is very excited to announce that we won the Best Law Firm Category in the 2023 Best of the Burg contest!   We'd like to extend a big thank you to our community for all of your support - this couldn't have been achieved without you. We look forward to continuing to provide excellent legal services to Fredericksburg and the Commonwealth.

How You Can Get Started on Estate Planning

The most commonly cited reason for not establishing an estate plan is that it’s a confusing topic, which is understandable – there is a lot of complexity and detail that goes into estate planning, and overlooking even a small part of the process can result in an ineffective or invalid estate plan, sending you back to square one. Our goal is to build up an effective estate plan by meeting all of your needs while also keeping everything as simple as possible. This way, we get a comprehensive plan that will cover everything you’ll need but isn’t over complicated to execute.

Incapacity Planning

To start, we’ll focus on the issue of legal incapacity. A Power of Attorney document generally serves to appoint an individual (called an agent) who will follow your guidelines to make decisions in your place. One of the most common uses of these documents is to create a medical agent who will ensure that your wishes are followed regarding medical care in the event that you are unable to make or communicate your medical decisions. Financial powers of attorney can provide a loved one with the ability to manage assets and deal with others on your behalf should it ever become necessary.  Additionally, a Living Trust can be put in place to better handle your potential incapacity by providing your loved ones with detailed instructions, security, and more effective control over your affairs.  Complete incapacity planning incorporates medical powers of attorney, financial powers of attorney and living trusts.  

Distribution of Assets

This is the area of estate planning that most people are familiar with. The disposition of assets consists of designating the beneficiaries who should receive your assets, as well as determining how those assets should be distributed. Unfortunately, mistakes in this area can often lead to disputes, expensive litigation, and complicated estate administration (commonly known as formal Probate).  Even the “simplest” estate can become very complicated without a well-thought-out and documented estate plan. 

Keep Things Simple for Your Survivors

Finally, after your death, we want to ensure that your plan will be as easy as possible to implement and reduce the likelihood of formal probate or the involvement of the courts. When it comes time for your executor and/or trustee to fulfill their duties, we want them to have access to the right tools and to have clear and easy instructions so that things will go as planned. As such, we’ll make sure that all of your assets are accounted for, and that the jobs everyone needs to fulfill are well-defined. Hopefully, after taking these steps into consideration, we’re left with a plan that will be a success.

Work With a Qualified ProfessionalThe most crucial step of estate planning is to consult an experienced professional. While these are great first steps toward establishing your estate plan, the drafting and details of a plan should always be handed over to a qualified estate planning attorney who can ensure its efficacy. To get started on your own comprehensive estate plan, contact Norton Pelt today to schedule your consultation.

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Norton Pelt, PLC

We work hard to ensure we provide the best legal experience possible and make it a priority to get to know each client so we can help you through virtually every type of legal event you may go through.

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