Estates and Trusts

The decisions you make regarding your estate determine how your property will be divided and what estate taxes will need to be paid after your passing.

Deciding what will happen to your home, financial assets, and personal possessions after your passing can be a difficult process. However, if you don’t take the time to make these decisions now, a court may end up dividing your property for you.

Be sure that your final wishes are carried out by consulting with Susan J. Lax to help you draft a will, create a living trust or by drawing up healthcare and general powers of attorney to protect your legacy.

Estate Planning and Estate Administration

Planning your estate now will help you get your records organized and things together so that your family and/or beneficiary can locate everything easily in the event of your passing. Your estate is comprised of your car, home, any real estate, bank accounts, insurance plans (specifically life insurance), furniture, and various personal possessions.

If you take the time to plan your estate now you can have the peace of mind knowing you have everything set up for when you pass. So, if you are ready to protect your assets with your own rules instead of leaving the choices to a generic court, call Susan J. Lax so she can help you protect your life’s possessions.

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Wills

A will enables you to control, to a large extent, what all happens after your passing. Usually with wills you can choose an executor, designate a guardian for minor children (or those unable to care for themselves) and distribute your property among other things.

The only things that are transferrable through wills are any property or property items that you own in your name only.

If you don’t have a will when you die, your property could be distributed differently than what you would like. To avoid this happening to you, call Susan J. Lax so she can help you make or revise your final decisions.

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Trusts and Trust Administration

Trusts are used to compliment a will by transferring your property to your designated beneficiary. With a trust you can place specific conditions on how and when your assets will be distributed.

With trust administration the trust assets need to be documented, beneficiaries notified, taxes paid, and trust assets must be managed in accordance with the terms of the trust.

Are you confused about the responsibilities of a trust administrator, or, are you a trust administrator that is concerned about the way trustees are currently managing and distributing trust assets? If so, please call Susan J. Lax so that she can help you make sure the appointed trustees are managing the trust in accordance with the trust’s terms and conditions.

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Power of Attorneys

The Black’s Law Dictionary defines Power of Attorney as:

            “An instrument in writing whereby one person, as principle, appoints another as his agent and confers authority to perform certain specified acts or kinds of acts on behalf of principle. An instrument authorizing another to act as one’s agent or attorney. The agent is attorney in fact and his power is revoked on the death of the principal by operation of law.”

Having a Power of Attorney (POA) can be beneficial because you can specify your agent to not make any decisions unless you are incapable of doing so due to a disability, coma or for some reason cannot sign a contract. These types of POAs can be considered “springing” because the authority of the agent only becomes into effect when a specific event, time, or date happens.

If you would like help deciding who you would like to make your decisions under the terms that you state, Susan J. Lax is more than prepared to help you draft the legal paperwork to have everything unfold as you would wish it to in the event you cannot act for yourself anymore due to unfortunate circumstances.

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Guardianships

A guardianship is an involuntary trust relationship in which one party, called a guardian, acts for an individual called the ward. The law regards the ward as incapable of managing his or her own person and/or affairs.

An incompetent adult or minor child can have a court appointed guardian. The law defines incompetent as:

…any person who is so mentally impaired as a result of a mental or physical illness or disability, or mental retardation, or as a result of chronic substance abuse, that the person is incapable of taking proper care of the person's self or property or fails to provide for the person's family or other persons for whom the person is charged by law to provide, or any person confined to a penal institution within this state.

Those who serve as guardian of person undertake the legal responsibility to make major life decisions, and agree to advocate on behalf of their wards. Guardians provide consent for medical treatment; obtain and coordinate community services; secure benefits; obtain housing; make funeral plans; visit their wards regularly; communicate with family, friends, caregivers and service providers; attend Probate Court hearings and complete Probate Court reports.

If you are in need of a guardian/guardianship, Susan J. Lax can help you complete the necessary steps to undertake this important position for the person in your life you believe needs help.