Estate Planning

Planning for the Present; Planning for the Future

Planning for the Present; Planning for the Future

Protecting yourself and the ones you love

There seems to be no end to the information and services available to grow your wealth, but all to often the subject of protecting wealth and well-being is put off until it's too late. Comprehensive estate planning isn't just for the one percent; it's for anyone looking to protect themselves and their family's future.

Estate planning consists of utilizing wills, trusts, powers of attorney and other documents to manage and protect assets and heath care decision-making. Perhaps more importantly, it consists of knowledgeable advice and counseling to complete a comprehensive plan that fits you and your family's needs. Having the advice and counseling of an expert lawyer can be an invaluable asset in securing your piece of mind and safeguarding all that you have worked so hard for.

The Law Office of Joshua W. Westcott provides estate planning, counseling and document preparation to meet your needs. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to estate planning, and Mr. Westcott is pleased to offer knowledgeable counseling in a confidential setting to help you determine what's right for you. He offers both comprehensive planning covering all the essential documents to secure and protect your assets and rights to future heath care decisions, as well as individual document preparation for those seeking to address a specific issue.

Utilizing Trusts

Avoiding Probate

Can I use a trust to avoid having my loved ones go to court to transfer my assets?

Yes. There are many different reasons to use a trust. Trusts can be used to provide oversight and long-term assistance to a loved one after you are gone, to manage potential liability risks and even to ensure the qualification for Medicaid, such as the use of a Miller trust. Some people choose to use a revocable living trust to ensure a smooth transition of family wealth without the need for estate administration proceedings.

Naming Beneficiaries

Avoiding Probate Without a Trust

Are there ways to avoid probate without using a trust?

Yes. Generally referred to as operative law transfers, many institutions easily allow you to name one or multiple beneficiaries on your accounts. Whether the are brokerage accounts, savings accounts, checking accounts, etc., you can inquire with the institution to obtain a beneficiary designation form. While this method will not allow for as much control over the distribution of your wealth, it will generally make funds available to the beneficiary upon the receipt of a death certificate and any other documentation required by the institution from the beneficiary.

Real Estate Transfers

Avoiding Administration of an Estate with Real Estate

Can probate be avoided if I have a house?

Possibly, depending on your circumstances. There are different ways to draft a deed to ensure that the property is transferred to another upon death, but there are many issues surrounding real estate that you should be very cautious about. If you are unfamiliar with the laws, you should consult with an experienced legal professional before purchasing or re-deeding real estate.