Allen D. Kircher - Attorney at Law, LLC               Practice limited to Estate Planning & Probate

Estate Planning / Probate
Wills Trusts Powers of Attorney Health Care POA's
Non Probate Transfers Probate HIPAA Forms
WILLS
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In some circumstances, wills are still the tool of choice for the transfer of assets accumulated during a lifetime. Even if a will is not the primary transfer document, every estate plan will include a will to handle any property that may not have been appropriately transferred to a trustee under a trust arrangement.

Key Uses
» Transfer financial assets to family members at death.
  » Designate guardians for minor children.
  » Designate the person who will take charge of the estate and distribute it to the heirs.
  » Create a trust arrangement for the benefit of children that extends beyond their age of majority.
  » Designate the recipients of items of personal property.
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TRUSTS

The trust has replaced the will as the primary estate planning document for many individuals. It's flexibility allows it to be used for goals as diverse as avoiding the cost, expense and delay of probate proceedings, to protecting the interests of spouses and children, to sophisticated tax planning and charitable giving.

Living trusts, testamentary trusts, certain types of irrevocable trusts, special needs trusts, charitable remainder trusts, and life insurance trusts are some of the types of trusts available. The appropriate use of a trust can be critical to a well-developed estate plan.


Key Uses
» Avoid probate
  » Avoid or reduce estate taxes.
  » Provide for the management of assets for children or an individual in the event of disability.
  » Implement a program of charitable giving.

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DURABLE POWERS of ATTORNEY

Powers of attorney are another key component of a complete estate plan. Without a durable power of attorney, a conservatorship in probate court is necessary to give someone the authority to handle an individual's assets. In addition, mandatory accounting is required and sales of real estate must be pre-approved by the court.


Key Uses
» Designate the person who will have responsibility for handling your financial affairs.
  » Administration of financial assets - pay bills, deposit checks, and make house payments.
  » Sale or purchase of stocks, bonds, and other assets.
  » Sale or transfer of real estate.
  » In coordination with a living trust agreement, complete the framework
    of protection in the event of incapacity an individual's incapacity.

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DURABLE POWERS of ATTORNEY for HEALTH CARE and HEALTH CARE DIRECTIVES

Perhaps no other issue creates as much concern for a person as to what will happen if their health deteriorates to the point where they cannot make basic decisions regarding additional medical care or life-sustaining procedures they are to receive that hold no hope for recovery. Without a durable power of attorney for health care (health care directive), a guardianship must created by the probate court to make health care decisions for you, if you cannot make them yourself.


Key Uses
» Define the specific events that allow another person to make health care decisions for you.
  » Identify those medical procedures that you desire to be taken and those
    that you do not want taken
  » Specify the events that will guide the person making health care decisions for you.

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NON-PROBATE TRANSFERS

Non-probate transfers include ways of owning property, such as joint ownership. These transfers also include designations that accomplish the same purpose as joint ownership without creating lifetime gifts or giving lifetime control, such as Transfer on Death designations or Pay on Death designations or Beneficiary Deeds that are used with real estate..


Key Uses
» Most often used in place of wills for certain types of property, including automobiles,
    checking and saving accounts, and certain real estate.
  » Most appropriately used for widowed or single parents with one adult child.
  » Does not take the place of Durable Powers of Attorney or Health Care Powers of Attorney.


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PROBATE

"Probate estates are sometimes necessary to transfer assets that were owned by a decedent who either had a will or died intestate (without a will). The probate process is complicated and, for estates over the amount of $40,000.00, an attorney is required by the court.

In addition, a probate estate may be necessary for those who are no longer competent or able to care for themselves or their assets. In these circumstances, a guardianship or conservatorship may be required. This is also handled in the probate court.

From applications for Letters Testamentary or Letters of Administration, applications for Guardianships or Conservatorships for individuals who are no longer competent, through the inventory and appraisement of the assets of an estate, to the sale of property, distributions and accountings to the court, my experience can make the probate process easier and more efficient.

If you are confronted with the necessity of probate, I can help."



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HIPAA CONSENT FORMS

Generally included as a part of estate planning package to obtain medical records when necessary


Key Uses
» Some trusts, durable powers of attorney for financial affairs, and durable powers of attorney
    for health care depend on the certification of attending physicians to become effective.
  » Made available to the persons having the authority under other estate planning documents.

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