Estate Planning & Living Trusts

The peace of mind afforded by a thoughtfully prepared estate plan is immeasurable. Although an estate plan offers many benefits, the ability to protect a family’s future and control its legacy is often the most profound, regardless of the estate’s value.

Because every family has its own unique personalities, complexities and issues, developing a plan that meets a family’s needs can be challenging. Our goal is to create a personalized estate plan that achieves a family’s desired results and minimizes problems for them following a death. Our process is not cookie-cutter and our clients appreciate the difference.

We work with individuals and families with a wide range of personal circumstances, wealth and assets, business interests, investments, philanthropic commitments, and legacy goals. We welcome the diversity of our clients, which includes traditional and non-traditional families, married couples, divorced and widowed individuals, and extended and multi-generational families.

Estate planning needs range from routine to complex and our firm is equipped to handle them all, including planning for:

  • Wealth transfer during life and at death
  • Tax issues
  • The care of minor children in the event of death
  • Incapacity or illness
  • Divorce
  • Charitable giving

With a living trust, your assets (your home, bank accounts and stocks, for example) are put into the trust, administered for your benefit during your lifetime, and then transferred to your beneficiaries when you die.

Most people name themselves as the trustee in charge of managing their trust’s assets. This way, even though your assets have been put into the trust, you can remain in control of your assets during your lifetime. You can also name a successor trustee (a person or an institution) who will manage the trust’s assets if you ever become unable or unwilling to do so yourself.

A living trust can be an important part — and in many cases, the most important part — of your estate plan.

Your living trust agreement:

  • Gives the trustee the legal right to manage and control the assets held in your trust.
  • Instructs the trustee to manage the trust’s assets for your benefit during your lifetime.
  • Names the beneficiaries (persons or charitable organizations) who are to receive your trust’s assets when you die.
  • Gives guidance and certain powers and authority to the trustee to manage and distribute your trust’s assets. The trustee is a fiduciary, which means he or she holds a position of trust and confidence and is subject to strict responsibilities and very high standards. For example, the trustee cannot use your trust’s assets for his or her own personal use or benefit without your explicit permission. Instead, the trustee must hold and use trust assets solely for the benefit of the trust’s beneficiaries.

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