What is a will?
A will is a document detailing what you would like to happen to your assets after you die. This document goes into effect only after you pass. Many people don’t want to think about dying. We, however, like to think about it as taking care of your family in the event something happens to you.
It’s never too early to take care of your family. A will is a piece of the plan.
Why do I need a will?
A will is all about taking care of your family. It is about ensuring that your family is taken care of in the way you want. You know what your heirs need and the kind of support that benefits them the best. It’s our job to advise you of your options, give you suggestions based on your needs, and construct a plan that best serves you and your family.
If you have children, especially young children, you are in the best position to know what they need as they grow up. Should something happen to you, don’t let your children figure out their future on their own. Even if you can’t be with them every day, you can still guide their future in a meaningful way.
What is a trust?
There are many different types of trusts. In general, a trust is an agreement to transfer property. Unlike a will, a trust may be put into effect during a person’s life. Though a trust may become active after death, like a will, the best use of a trust is during ones life. The sooner you have a trust the better, because the longer you have a trust, the more taxes you can avoid when transferring your property to your children or other heirs.
This particular use of a trust is just one of many ways a trust may function to protect your assets and facilitate efficient transfer of your money to your heirs. At Peabody Law Firm, we will identify the best trust solutions for your specific needs. Trusts can be complicated, but we are happy to explain complex solutions in an easy to understand way.
Do I need a trust?
This depends. For the vast majority of people, a trust is very important for a variety of reasons.
- Protect Your Family. In the event something happens to you, your family needs to be taken care of. They need to be protected from creditors, the government, themselves, and even friends and family. This last part may sound odd to some, but even if everyone in your family is a terrific trustworthy person, you still know what’s best for your children. A trust may be a good tool to ensure that the money you leave to your family is spent in the right way, for the right purpose.
- Save Money by Avoiding Probate. It is important to avoid probate because probate can be very expensive. This expense will be in the form of attorney and court fees. More often than not, these fees will be in far excess of the cost of creating a good estate plan. Any money you save will be money that your family may benefit from, and from our perspective, taking care of your family is the most important.
- Avoid Taxes. We are not evading taxes, which would be illegal; rather, we are navigating around them through thoughtful planning. The more taxes you avoid the more money you keep in your pocket. Our approach is twofold; (1) we utilize existing laws regarding the transfer of assets, and (2) carefully consider not only where the law is currently, but also where it’s going to be. This second approach requires us to go above and beyond in our research and expertise of the current legal environment on both a state and federal level. We are happy to do this so that our clients come out ahead. Please feel free to ask us about this approach during your consultation.
Simple or complex estate?
A simple or level one estate plan is a common form of revocable trusts drafted to be changeable throughout the trustees lifetime.
A complex or level two estate includes an irrevocable trust, a management company, and a limited partnerships to manage and distribute assets.
Talk of medical care for individuals with special needs is common, but there is rarely talk of legal care for the same individuals. Legal support for the special needs community is essential to protecting their rights and their access to the resources they need to live a happy healthy life.
Whether you are raising a child with autism or your parent is facing challenges of capacity, our goal is to help you design a legal support plan for their current and future medical needs and financial concerns.
Many times, those with special needs may not have the ability to take care of their own finances. Typically, a caretaker, often a family member, will handle all financial needs. These needs may be as simple as buying food, clothing, or ensuring a place to live, or may be more complex, such as securing continued medical support or long-term care. But what if a family member is unable or unwilling to perform this basic support?
This is a question that needs to be answered before parents and caretakers are unable to perform this vital support. If, for example, you are a parent taking care of a special needs child and something were to happen to you, who would step in and take care of your special family member? Too often we have seen situations where money is not set aside in an estate for a special needs family member, and they are unable to advocate for themselves. While unfortunate, this situation can be prevented.
One tool we may utilize is a Special Needs Trust. This is a special kind of trust that can help set aside money and instructions for care for your special needs family member. This legal tool may also help preserve any kind of governmental aid you may be receiving while not compromising any family money earmarked for additional care.
If you are reading this and the questions are stacking up in your mind, that’s okay, we are here to help. We are happy to sit down with you in order to discuss your options and answer any questions you may have.
Planning for your family does not have to be a stressful experience. Let us do the heavy lifting, answer your questions and give you suggestions that fit your specific needs.
As a side note, we would be very pleased to meet your special needs family member and would be happy to sit down with you in a comfortable familiar place, such as a living room table or sofa right in your own home. We are pleased to meet you at a care facility as well.
Military Members, Veterans, and Family
- Active, retired, or honorably separated officers and enlisted personnel of the U.S. military.
- Officer candidates in commissioning programs: Academy, ROTC (Reserve Officers’ Training Corps), OCS (Officer Candidate School)/OTS (Officer Training School)
- Are a spouse or child of the above listed
If you are looking for advanced legal support beyond the basic services provided to you by JAG, we are familiar with many of the issues you face as a member of our armed forces.
Even if you just have questions about a trust or a real estate investment LLC, we can set up a consultation so that you can get your questions answered and make informed decisions. If we can help, we will.
Police and Fire
Peabody Law Firm backs the Blue. If you work in law enforcement and need our legal services, here as some examples of those we serve for the following agencies:
- Municipal or county level as a Sheriff’s Deputy
- Police Officer
- State level DPS highway patrol officer
- Texas Ranger
- Retired or honorably separated from any of these groups
If you currently work in the fire department or are retired, we are happy to serve you.
As a firefighter, you are on the front lines when a disaster happens. Having worked as first responders ourselves, we know that you have to be ready for anything. You have plans in place for every expanding incident. Do you have plans in place for your family as well? Or how about your personal finances?
Let us help your wills, trusts, and setting up a structure limiting your liability for your rental property. These are just a few of the issues we commonly help firefighters with.