Typical Client Situations
Wills, Estates and Trusts
We are experienced in most matters of probate, including the preparation of wills and the administration and settlement of decedents' estates.
The office also brings many years of experience in the creation of trusts for a wide variety of situations. Trusts are arrangements whereby the creator of the trust, often called the grantor, sets money or other property aside with a trustee for the benefit of others, called the beneficiaries. The trust can be created within a client's will or by a separate document.
Typical trust applications include:
Grantor or Self-Managed Trusts. In these cases an owner is providing that his or her own investments or other property will be held as a trust, under a written instrument, for the grantor's own benefit and/or for other purposes described in the document.
Estate-Planning Trusts. Trusts are often used in estate planning, both to reduce or manage estate tax liabilities and also to provide for a surviving spouse, younger family members or family members with disabilities.
Insurance Trusts. Sometimes an insured will want an insurance policy to be held by a trustee. In the event of the insured's death the proceeds are paid into the trust, and the trustee invests and manages the proceeds for the insured's family.
Charitable Trusts. Money or other property can be set aside for the benefit of a worthy cause, such as a church, hospital, university or community organization.
Elder Law. We prepare general durable powers of attorney for clients wishing to address business, banking, property and tax matters. We recommend that clients select their representatives carefully because of the management and decision-making skills that may be required.
We create medical powers of attorney to address health-care decision-making, including both the more routine decisions that need to be made and also the special decisions that may be required in end-of-life situations. Many clients also consider living wills, which provide a statement of values about life-prolonging interventions. We typically recommend that the client combine the living will into the medical power of attorney so that the representative can advocate for the client's stated wishes.
Real Estate Matters
Many client inquiries involve real estate matters and in particular, the sale and purchase of real property.
Real estate sales agreements should always be in writing and should always have clear and definite terms. We can assist clients in the preparation of these agreements.
We can also assist clients as they prepare for closing. In representing sellers, we can prepare their deeds and other documents, and in representing a buyer, we can undertake a title search. If a buyer so requests, we can also inquire into title insurance.
Real estate transactions may also involve leases, planned unit developments, condominiums, public offering statements, homeowners' associations, bylaws, easements, rights-of-way, mining rights and other interests. We are experienced in all such matters and can advise our clients.
The law offers business owners a variety of options for organizing and operating their businesses. Choices include limited liability companies, corporations, partnerships and other business forms. We can help our clients discuss these decisions with their accountants as well.
Many clients inquire about buying or selling existing businesses. Depending on the circumstances, purchases and sales of businesses can be quite complicated as a variety of legal issues are often involved.
We are also experienced in business agreements. Business agreements can include buy/sell arrangements among shareholders or other participants; employment agreements; succession planning; agreements relating to the operation of a business; and the like. We also prepare articles of incorporation, articles of organization, bylaws, operating agreements, corporate minutes and other aids to business administration.
Charitable and Nonprofit Organizations
We assist our clients in the creation and operation of charitable and nonprofit organizations. These arrangements involve trusts, corporations, tax and estate planning.
Some charitable organizations are created to operate a worthy cause, such as a community service. Other organizations are created as private foundations, which typically make grants in support of other community organizations.Some organizations are created during their proponents' lifetimes while others are created through the wills or trust arrangements of deceased donors. Sometimes the family members of a deceased donor will carry on the philanthropic tradition by serving as trustees of the organization.
In creating or operating charitable or nonprofit organizations, we recommend to our clients that they have the support of a capable accounting firm