Estate Law & Litigation
Many people who fail to develop a legacy succession strategy do not realize that a well-devised estate plan can perform a wide range of vital functions, including protecting your assets, providing for the smooth transfer of assets to your heirs, and ensuring that your wishes regarding extraordinary medical procedures and end-of-life decisions are respected. Our estate planning attorneys at The Crisp Law Firm, PLLC offer sound legal advice, comprehensive estate planning strategies, carefully crafted estate planning documents, and effective estate administration based on over 38 years or experience. We have become the one of New Hampshire’s most premier law firm by offering quality and cost effective legal representation.
38 Years of Experience Crafting Effective Estate Plans
While estate planning services are not free, the cost is often nominal when compared to the cost of not having an effective estate plan. When a person dies intestate (i.e. without a will or trust), they may be saddled with the high cost of complicated, contested probate proceedings and face negative tax consequences. An effective estate plan also can provide mechanisms to protect your assets from your creditors or the creditors of your heirs after you pass. An estate plan typically also will include documents that indicate who you want responsible for your business and financial affairs, as well as medical decisions, if you should become incapacitated by a serious accident or illness. Finally, a will or living trust can ensure that the wealth that you have spent a lifetime building is transferred to your loved ones according to your wishes when you pass away.
Our experienced estate planning attorneys can provide critical estate planning documents like wills and living trusts, which can save your family members money and time when they are coping with the emotional hardship of mourning your loss. When you die without a will (or alternative like a living trust), your family is forced to deal with the legal complexities, costs, and the delay of the probate process without clear direction regarding your intentions. Our estate planning attorneys at the Crisp Law Firm, PLLC will meet with you and discuss your goals while reviewing your assets and financial affairs so that we can devise an estate plan that provides security for you and your loved ones. While some individuals presume that you do not need an estate plan unless you have substantial assets, most people can benefit from asset protection, incapacity planning, and the reduced cost of transferring assets. For example, some property like bank accounts of married partners can be titled in joint tenancy so that they automatically transfer to the other spouse at death avoiding any cost.
Skillfully Drafted Estate Planning Documents & Comprehensive Estate Plans
Some of the types of estate planning documents that our skilled New Hampshire estate planning attorneys might draft as part of your estate plan include:
- Simple Wills: A will becomes effective when you pass away and specifies how you wish your property and assets to be transferred upon your death. Wills must be submitted for probate, which can be costly and time-consuming. Many times the probate process can delay the availability of assets that your family might need to compensate for diminished household income. While a simple will may be part of a comprehensive estate plan, our New Hampshire estate planning attorneys often use other mechanisms to transfer assets to avoid the delay, administrative hassle, and cost associated with the probate process. A living trust will often be combined with a special type of will, referred to a “pour-over will,” which applies to any residual assets or property not passed by other means.
- Living Trusts: A living trust, created during one’s lifetime, is a commonly used alternative to a will because it provides for the transfer of assets outside of the probate process. A trust is a legal document that creates an arrangement where a person, referred to as the “trustee,” holds legal title to property for the benefit of another, referred to as the “beneficiary.” If you set up a trust, you can make yourself the trustee so that you preserve the right to exercise control over the property. There are many different kinds of trusts, but they often have advantages over wills depending on your specific situation. These advantages might include avoiding the cost of probate, protecting assets from creditors, and reducing tax obligations. Another important advantage of a living trust is that it preserves a family’s privacy regarding its assets and financial affairs. Probate proceedings are a matter of public record, so your personal financial information may be disclosed to the public while a living trust keeps your financial affairs private.
- Living Will: The function of a living will is to indicate what medical procedures and extraordinary medical care you wish to have performed if you become terminally ill or permanently unconscious.
- Powers of Attorney: A power of attorney may deal with financial affairs or medical issues. The function of a power of attorney is to permit you to designate someone to act on your behalf either because you know you will be unavailable or you become incapacitated. The incapacitation may only be temporary, such as when you are in a coma but expected to recover. The living will allows you to specifically empower someone to act and make decisions in your place if you should become incapacitated. The health care power of attorney ensures that the person you wish to have decision-making authority regarding medical decisions when you are unable to communicate your wishes is granted this authority. A power of attorney also can cover financial affairs, including signing contracts, paying bills, filing taxes, disposing of assets, and the like.
New Hampshire Probate Administration
These are merely a small number of examples of the types of estate planning documents that our experienced attorneys can prepare as part of your comprehensive estate plan. We can carefully evaluate your financial situation and discuss your wishes so that we develop the most efficient cost-effective estate plan for your needs. Our Concord probate administration lawyers also can guide you through the probate process conducting an inventory of estate assets, determining the value of real and personal property, satisfying debts and tax liabilities, and distributing the proceeds according to the terms of your will. When we handle contested probate proceedings, we diligently advocate for our client while exercising prudence and sensitivity to resolve disputes without promoting deep, lasting animosity between family members.
Contact the Crisp Law Firm, PLLC Now to Safeguard Your Future
At the Crisp Law Firm, PLLC, our experienced estate planning and estate administration lawyers recognize the importance of prompt responses to client inquiries, skilled estate planning, and persuasive advocacy during contested probate proceedings. We invite you to call us at 603-225-5252 or to contact us online to set up a confidential consultation.