ESTATE PLANNING & PROBATE SERVICES

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Health Care Directives

A Health Care Directive, also known as a Living Will, is a document that clearly states your desires for medical treatment in the event that you are unable to communicate these wishes.

Power of Attorney

A Power of Attorney is a document naming a person you trust to enter into legal, business and/or medical transactions for you in the event that you become unable to do so yourself.

Wills & Trusts

A Will or Trust may be one of the most important legal documents you can create to ensure that you maintain control of who manages and receives your assets when you die.

Probate

If you have recently lost a loved one, Hoffman Walker & Smith Attorneys at Law are a group of northern Kentucky lawyers who can help you with the difficult task of probate estate administration.

When Is the Right Time to Develop an Estate Plan?

If you have assets, death benefits, children, or family members with special needs for whom you would like to provide after your death, then NOW is the right time for you to develop your estate plan. If none of the above apply to you, then you may not need an estate plan.

What if I Just Need a Change to My Estate Plan?

Bring any prior estate planning documents that you have signed to your consultation. Our estate planning lawyers will consult with you to determine what you want to accomplish with your estate plan, and will review your current documents to determine whether any changes are necessary. No unnecessary drafting will be done.

What Happens If I Don’t Plan My Estate?

If you have property at the time of your death, and die intestate (without a Will), your estate will need to be Probated, where the Court will appoint someone as Administrator of the Estate. Preference is given to whomever the family agrees upon; however, sometimes a person’s credit history can be a problem for the Administrator to be bonded. In a Will, bonding can be waived.

Without a Will, the Court will force the distribution of property in the Will according to the laws of descent, KRS 391.010-391.030. The only way to ensure the direction of your assets after death to the persons of your choosing is through the drafting of a Will or Trust.

What Does a Lawyer Do When Planning an Estate?

Our estate planning attorneys will help you plan the designation of beneficiaries and titling of property, and will draft estate planning documents such as Wills and Trusts.  Our goal is to minimize the tax and attorney fees of your estate after our your death while maximizing the benefits to your heirs. In doing so, the estate planning attorneys at Hoffman Walker & Smith will help you determine what documents are necessary for you to provide for your loved ones while protecting yourself until death. Other documents that may be drafted are Powers of Attorney or Health Care Directives which appoint representatives to manage financial and medical decision making for you prior to your death. The drafting of these documents does not necessarily negate the need for Probate, but often times limits the amount of assets that need to be probated, which typically gets the assets to your beneficiaries faster, and with less expense.

Whom Should I Name as My Executor, POA, Trustee, Guardian, Health Care Surrogate?

Typically people name family members:

  • Executor to manage their estate;
  • Power of Attorney to handle their financial and/or medical decisions before death;
  • Trustee to manage funds held for their children, family members, or other beneficiaries after death;
  • Guardian to care for their children after death;
  • Health Care Surrogates to make life or death medical decisions.

For any of these positions that deal with money, we recommend that you appoint someone with strong moral judgment and financial skill. If you do not have a family member to manage these tasks for you, consider close friends, business associates, bankers, lawyers, or other persons with whom you have a good relationship. It is also helpful to name one or two alternates for each position in case your first choice is unable to serve for some reason. Naming alternates gives a longer life to your documents, and prevents the Court from having to choose someone for you.

For all of these positions, it is important to have a discussion with your appointee as to how you want them to manage things for you, especially regarding healthcare and child-rearing decisions.

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p. (859) 371-2227

7348 US 42, Suite 202, Florence, KY 41042
 

Hoffman Walker & Smith is located in Florence, KY and serves clients in and around Erlanger, Florence, Ft Mitchell, Burlington, Union, Hebron, Independence, Walton, Covington, Kenton, Latonia, Petersburg, Newport, Morning View, Verona, Fort Thomas, Bellevue, Silver Grove, Dayton, Boone County, Campbell County, Gallatin County, Grant County, Kenton County and Pendleton County.

The information and materials on this Web site are provided for general informational purposes only, and are not intended to be legal advice. We attempt to provide quality information, but the law changes frequently, and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The information and materials provided are general in nature, and may not apply to a specific factual or legal circumstance. An attorney and client relationship should not be implied. Nothing on this Web site is intended to substitute for the advice of an attorney; therefore, if you require legal advice, please consult with a competent attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction.