Succession & Estate Planning
At Jones & Lester, LLP, we recognize every client’s situation is unique, and we therefore carefully tailor every estate plan to accomplish our client’s goals while minimizing potential tax consequences. We invest the time necessary to get to know our clients, including the nature of their assets, their family dynamics, and their desires and objectives. Our areas of representation include:
Wills, Living Trusts and Related Documents
We prepare individually tailored estate planning documents including:
- Wills: We prepare simple wills for clients, as well as pour-over wills, which are wills which are designed to work in unison with a living trust. We also prepare wills with guardianship provisions for our clients’ minor children under the age of 18.
- Revocable Living Trusts: We prepare living trusts and assist our clients in properly funding their trust with their assets. We prepare deeds and accompanying documents to transfer clients’ interests in real property into the name of the trust. We also prepare letters to our clients’ banks and other financial institutions instructing them to transfer title to any accounts into the trust, as well as assignments of personal property into the trust. We also offer trust administration services following the death of a trustor.
- Durable Financial Powers of Attorney: We prepare durable financial powers of attorney designating a person or persons to manage the financial affairs of our client in the event our client becomes incapacitated.
- Advance Health Care Directives: We prepare advance health care directives allowing our client to designate a person or persons to make medical decisions on their behalf in the event they are unable to express their wishes with regard to health care, life support, and other important considerations.
Additional Estate Planning Services
In addition to the estate planning documents described above, we also assist clients in drafting Special Needs Trusts and Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts. We also review clients’ estate planning documents that have been prepared by other attorneys, advise them on any needed updates or corrections, and prepare amendments and/or restatements of trusts as necessary.
Planning to Avoid Litigation
While we carefully document our clients’ wishes and thoughtfully craft all estate planning documents to avoid any ambiguities that may lead to a challenge or contest to the document, disputes are sometimes inevitable, and in the event that litigation becomes necessary, we are prepared to aggressively represent our clients’ interests in trust and estate litigation. As experienced trust and estate litigators, we have unique insight into the issues that give rise to will contests, challenges to the validity of estate planning documents, and allegations of improper execution of documents, and we use this insight to ensure that estate planning documents prepared by our firm will withstand such contests or challenges.
Business Succession Planning
We frequently advise clients when a closely held business is being sold or when a family member is retiring from the business and wants to explore business succession planning options. We structure tax saving strategies to facilitate the orderly transfer of control and wealth to successive generations, including family limited partnerships, which are designed to keep family assets in the family, provide for management of family assets, and to transfer family assets on a tax favorable basis. Our estate planning attorneys also advise clients regarding the use of Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) and buy-sell agreements. For further information regarding this area of our practice, see the corporate and business law page.
We advise clients with charitable inclinations on ways to maximize the tax benefits of their contribution. Our services in this area include advice regarding, and preparation of charitable remainder trusts and charitable lead trusts.