The purpose of estate planning is to ensure that an individual’s estate is passed on to heirs in a manner that is fair, appropriate to situation, risk averse, and tax efficient. Proper estate planning can avoid financial hardships and painful disputes while providing for those in your family who are neediest.
Probate / Estate Administration
When a person dies without a valid Last Will and Testament that states how his or her property is to be distributed, then the person is said to have “died intestate”; the estate therefore is categorized and treated differently from estates governed by a valid will.
Wills & Trusts
If you and your spouse suddenly and unexpectedly passed away, who will be left to take care of and provide for your minor children? This is about the most frightening question a parent can ask. After all, we do not want to imagine our children growing up in a world without us. Having a last will and testament is crucial for all parents to have, particularly because minor children are completely financially and emotionally dependent on their parents.
Power of Attorney
A power of attorney is a legal document that gives another person the power to act in your place. It is a written authorization that allows someone else to deposit and withdraw funds, sign official documents, enter into contracts, sign checks and tax returns, buy or sell real estate, and handle other matters for you should you become unavailable, or should you want to prepare for incapacity or unexpected illness. This essential document is one way of ensuring that the right person will step into your shoes should something happen to you.
Special Needs Trust
A special-needs trust, also known as a supplemental needs trust, is a specialized legal document specifically designed for beneficiaries who are either mentally or physically disabled. This trust allows the beneficiary to enjoy the use of property held in trust for his or her benefit, supplementing any benefits that a person with special needs may be receiving from government programs.
Medical Directive / Living Wills
Most of us become uneasy when thinking about injury resulting in a critical condition or long-term disability. Nonetheless, it is a thoughtful and courageous thing to plan ahead for one’s own possible troubles.
Guardianships and Conservatorships
The U.S. legal system recognizes that there are some members of the society such as minor children and a number of adults who are unable to care for themselves and protect their own self-interests. Conservatorships and guardianships are for people who, for whatever reasons, cannot take care of themselves. These individuals may be suffering from an incapacitating illness or disorder, or perhaps have been injured in an accident.Conservatorships and guardianships are legal structures that place a person of diminished capacity under the supervision of a conservator or guardian.
Private Property & Real Estate Law
Managing property can be a difficult undertaking due to the legal challenges that are likely to arise. There are numerous aspects involved in buying and selling real estate and construction, from making an offer to closing a sale. Sales contracts need to be drafted and reviewed, real estate agreements must be negotiated, titles must be cleared, and so on.
Disputes with Local Governments
Disputes with local government can arise in several contexts. Environmental problems and controversial land uses often create public and legal disputes with local governments. Other disputes with local governments originate in building codes, development regulations, permits, variances, historic preservation, easements, annexations, condemnations, property-tax appeals, and rezonings.
Property Tax Appeals
Real estate values throughout the United States have fluctuated and dropped dramatically over the years. When it comes to property tax purposes, however, most properties have not been reassessed accurately. County tax assessors reassess land every couple of years. Unfortunately, it is possible for these assessors to make mistakes, and assess your property value above anything that resembles its fair market value.
Environment & Natural Resources Law
Environment and natural resources law, simply put, is an area of the law that addresses the effects of human activities on the natural environment. It is generally categorized into two: pollution control/remediation, and the conservation of natural resources.
Conservation Easement / Restriction
A conservation easement, also known as a conservation restriction, is a legal agreement between a landowner and a government agency or land trust that permanently limits uses of a tract of land in order to protect its conservation values. The conservation easement is recorded in the county’s official books of deeds and other real property interests and runs with the land.
A civil liability for nuisance generally rises from the infringement upon another person’s free use and enjoyment of his or her property. This means that a person cannot and should not use his or her property in such a manner that it infringes upon the rights of another individual. Lawsuits that invoke the law of nuisance generally involve either an individual suing a neighbor or a public official suing a property owner for the general public’s benefit.