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Wills, Trusts, Estate Planning and Probate Administration Print E-mail

There are many aspects to proper estate planning, much more than the passing of wealth and property from one generation to another.  A well-considered plan should involve addressing needs of family individuals who may have special needs, such as an inability to handle money or to care for themselves, who may be addicted to drugs or alcohol, and prenuptial planning for subsequent generations.  Of course, estate and income tax planning is critical for certain wealthy clients.  Then, there are concerns about the delay and expense posed by probate proceedings.  Also important is creating a sound mechanism to assure the care of the client making the plan when he or she becomes aged or if she or he becomes incapacitated mentally or physically.

Hughes & Bentzen's estate planning specialists advise clients on advantageous estate planning opportunities as they apply within the context of each particular family situation.  Such matters include the more common estate planning documents, including wills, revocable and irrevocable trusts, durable powers of attorney, and advance directives regarding health care.  In addition, our attorneys work with on more sophisticated estate planning, including, and qualified personal residence trusts, family partnerships, grantor trusts and charitable trusts.  Often such documents are lengthy and complex as required to meet the needs of the firm’s client and his/her/their family.  But, in some cases simple wills are all that are required, especially for young clients, who are beginning their professional or business careers or starting a new family. 

It is clear that many people think of tax issues when considering an estate plan.  The Federal and state tax issues are ever present and involve clients during their lifetimes as well as upon their deaths.  Appropriate use of a gifting plan is frequently beneficial if done in accordance with federal gift and estate tax provisions, including tax-free gifts to pay for education or medical expenses of family members, such as grandchildren.  Stuart Sorkin, a Hughes & Bentzen member, is an eminent tax specialist who works closely with other firm members to assure that estate plans meet high standards in regard to compliance with the applicable tax laws and to taking advantage of opportunities afforded under the statutes and regulations.

In addition to assisting in regard to probate and trust administration, Hughes & Bentzen lawyers participate in cases involving disputes regarding will or trust construction or legal requirements.   These cases may involve litigation in any of the area courts, mediation or representing a client in negotiating a resolution agreement.

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