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Our Chesapeake Estate Planning Attorney Helps You Protect Your Loved Ones and Prepare for the Future

Nobody likes to think about what will happen after they pass away, but thinking about it is exactly what you should do to make life easier for your heirs. Proper estate planning can ensure you get the medical care you need later in life, your final wishes are respected, and your family members inherit only the property you want them to have.

An Estate Plan Based on Your Specific Needs

At Coastal Atlantic Law, we make it easy to create your ideal estate plan. By asking key questions about your property and goals for the future, we help ensure that your family is taken care of long after your passing.

There’s a wide range of financial products and legal instruments that can be incorporated into an estate plan, and each one has certain advantages and disadvantages. Rather than force each client into a one-size-fits-all template, Virginia estate planning attorney Kristen Alexander explores all available options to achieve your goals—whether that means avoiding probate, controlling cash distributions to certain relatives, or protecting the family business.

Our plans often include:

  • A last will and testament. There are plenty of DIY wills available online, but none of them compares to a personalized last will and testament created by an attorney. We help protect what matters most to you, such as guardianship of minor children, ownership of heirlooms or treasured possessions, care of your pets, and other unique concerns.
  • Advance medical directives. One of the biggest concerns clients have during estate planning is their future medical care. Under Virginia law, patients have the right to plan ahead for medical decisions by placing instructions in a legally-binding document known as an advance directive. Also called a living will, an advance directive details the types of medical interventions the patient wishes to receive during end-of-life care.
  • Powers of attorney. Powers of attorney authorize a trusted person to make decisions on your behalf if you become disabled or incapacitated. These documents can be temporary or permanent, but they only give someone control over your affairs while you are still alive. They’re also limited to certain situations—for example, a healthcare power of attorney may only make decisions about your medical care, while a financial power of attorney handles your banking and bill-paying duties if you become unable to do so.
  • Trusts. A trust is vital for people who need a greater degree of control over how their wealth and assets will be distributed to their heirs. A properly structured and funded revocable trust can provide for your beneficiaries for decades, while an irrevocable trust protects your right to receive public benefits for future nursing care. Trusts allow you to set conditions on future inheritances, preventing wasteful spending or loss of assets to your relatives’ creditors.
  • Tax planning. There are many federal, state, and local taxes that can be assessed after a person’s death, including estate tax, capital gains tax, income tax, and gift taxes. An estate planning attorney can consider the potential impacts of taxation and devise strategies to reduce the amount of your estate that will be collected by the government. For example, you may be eligible for certain federal and Virginia tax exemptions for charitable donations or making planned gifts to family members.
  • Probate concerns. While a will-based plan will have to go through probate, items held in trust pass outside of probate, making the process of inheritance faster and less costly. In addition to adding time and expense, probate is a public process that may not be ideal for clients who value their privacy. An estate planning lawyer can reduce the amount of the estate that passes through probate, protecting business concerns and keeping family interests away from prying eyes.

Get Peace of Mind With a Chesapeake Estate Planning Lawyer

Ready to take the next step? Coastal Atlantic Law is standing by to answer your questions. We serve clients in Chesapeake, Virginia Beach, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Norfolk, Hampton, Newport News, and the surrounding areas. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.