FAQs for Law Offices of Wesley Clarke in Washington, D.C.
We have answers to your legal questions!
If you are involved in any type of legal matter, we at the Law Offices of Wesley L. Clarke understand you may have a plethora of questions. Below are answers to commonly asked estate planning questions. If you have any further questions, or would like to schedule an appointment with one of our Washington D.C. attorneys, please contact our office by dialing 202-257-9730 today.
What is estate planning?
Estate planning involves many important steps and documents. One main purpose of estate planning is to determine which of your loved ones receives specific assets after you pass away. An estate plan also allows you to state your medical and financial wishes in the event you become incapacitated or pass away, as well as naming a guardian for minor or disabled children. While many people believe estate planning is solely for retired individuals, it is beneficial for everyone with assets and loved ones to create an estate plan.
Do I need an estate plan?
If you have assets you wish to be transferred to specific loved ones upon your death, have minor children, or have certain medical and financial wishes, you need an estate plan. Estate plans involve wills, which allow you to state which of your loved ones receive specific assets. A will also allows you to select a guardian for your minor or incapacitated children if you do not have a spouse or your spouse is unable to care for said children. Powers of attorney are beneficial if you have specific medical and financial wishes in the event you become incapacitated.
What are examples of assets I can transfer to loved ones upon my death?
Items you can transfer upon your death include:
- Your home
- Any other real estate you own
- The value of your retirement accounts
- Life insurance policies in your name
- Any property owned by a trust
- Your business
Are there certain documents an estate plan should include?
Every estate plan is different, as they depend on what you want and need. However, most estate plans include a will, durable powers of attorney, a living trust, and a living will.
What is probate?
Probate is the process of managing and transferring your assets to rightful heirs after you pass away. Depending on the nature of your estate, the court may need to be involved in this process. If you have a properly drafted and comprehensive estate plan, your loved ones can potentially avoid the probate process. However, family members of those who do not have comprehensive estate plans must follow specific laws prior to distributing a deceased loved one’s assets. The length of probate depends on the complexity of the decedent’s estate.
The probate process normally includes:
- Filing a petition with the probate court
- Notifying heirs listed in the will (if there is one), or notifying statutory heirs (if there is no will) of the loved one’s passing
- Petition to appoint an executor (if there is a will), or having the probate court select an administrator (if there is no will)
- Inventorying and appraising the decedent’s assets
- Paying all necessary debts and taxes
- Distributing assets to rightful heirs
How will I and my family benefit from a living trust?
A living trust is similar to a will, but it allows for the immediate transfer of your assets upon your death without the need to involve the probate court. It also allows for the management of your estate and financial and medical affairs without needing a guardian or conservatorship. Living trusts allow for the transfer of your estate to be private and much more affordable compared to the probate process.
Why Hire Us?
- We can handle a wide range of legal matters effectively
- We are committed to interacting with each client in an honest manner
- We have a strong work ethic & take a client-centered approach
- We proudly serve Washington, D.C. & many cities throughout Virginia & Maryland
- We provide strong legal counsel & guidance while being caring & understanding