Helios Law Group’s estate planning and probate attorneys provide essential estate and succession planning services, including advising our clients regarding protection and transfer of personal, family and estate assets through wills, trusts, and family limited partnerships; family and business asset protection and succession gift and estate tax implications; and alternatives to probate. We work with our clients to determine and prepare the right estate plan for their needs, provide legal representation for beneficiaries and personal representatives in probate and related proceedings, and assist our clients with business formation, operation and succession
The term “estate planning” refers to more than just having a will; it encompasses a broad
range of asset protection, tax savings and succession planning, including the following:
- Having a will that is right for your personal and family situation and needs.
- Establishing trusts for your spouse and/or children to preserve assets for their benefit and to maximize tax savings, and choosing qualified, reliable trustees to manage trust assets.
- Having durable powers of attorney for financial matters and health care to ensure a trusted person can act on your behalf in the event of disability.
- Having a medical directive (“living will”) to ensure your wishes regarding life support are followed in the event of incapacity.
- Ensuring that you have sufficient insurance to protect against liability and fund your estate plan.
- Ensuring that you have designated the appropriate beneficiary on insurance and retirement plans.
- Holding certain assets in trusts or limited liability entities to avoid probate, protect against personal liability, and for tax purposes.
- Ensuring that your business form is providing appropriate personal liability protection, tax advantages, and eventual succession without unnecessary complication.
Each person’s family and business situation is unique, so there is no “one-size-fits-all” estate planning option. Determining and executing the right estate plan for your situation is a team effort involving you, your attorneys, and your tax professional. Our estate planning team can help you develop and implement the right estate plan for your needs.
Probate and Trust Administration
When someone dies, their assets are distributed to their heirs, either according to the instructions in their will, trust, or in the absence of a will or trust, according to state law. When supervised by the courts, this process is called “probate.” Probate is not always necessary, but may be preferable to assure that estate assets are distributed appropriately with minimum of conflict between beneficiaries and to avoid potential unknown creditor claims. Trust assets do not require probate, but must be administered by a trustee in accordance with the terms of the trust agreement.
We provide legal representation for personal representatives and beneficiaries in probate and trustees and beneficiaries in trust administration, assisting in asset transfers and distributions under a will or trust and ongoing probate and trust administration.
Succession Planning for Businesses
If you own a business, particularly a family owned business that will pass from generation to generation or that you intend to sell to fund your retirement, succession planning is vital to assure transition of the business with the least possible complication, risk, and tax. With advance planning, this transition can be effected quickly with minimal tax and personal liability. Even if you do not intend to sell or transfer your business, it is important to ensure that your business form is providing you with appropriate limited liability protection, especially if you ever sell, restructure, or wind up and close your business. There are many traps for the unwary business owner that can lead to personal liability that can be avoided with careful planning, adequate insurance and sound legal advice.
Helios Law Group represents business owners in all stages of the process, including formation of corporations and limited liability companies, advising business owners regarding compliance with statutory requirements, succession planning, sale, merger, restructuring, and wind up and closure.