Estate Planning and Administration
Wills | Estate Planning | Probate and Estate Administration
It’s never too early to begin planning for the future. An essential part of the future is undeniably estate planning. Attorney Damon C. Hopkins understands that estate planning is a critical step in protecting and distributing your assets to your loved ones. When you establish a will, you essentially create your own law, governing how your estate will be administered. Damon Hopkins Law is a well-trusted estate and trust attorney that provides estate planning and drafting services for all sizes, types, and complexities of estates. Attorney Hopkins carefully considers all clients’ goals and family situations with factors that include:
Income, estate, gift, generation-skipping transfer, and other tax consequences
Retirement and employee benefits developments
Property tax implications
The potential need for long-term nursing or custodial care
If the distribution of your estate is not planned out correctly, there is a chance that the Government may “inherit” too much of your estate. Instead of letting this happen to something that you’ve worked so hard to build, let Damon C. Hopkins help you.
Schedule an Appointment with Attorney Hopkins Today.
Wills / Living Wills / Powers of Attorney
Asset Valuation and Distribution of Estate
Paying Debts of Estate
Attorney Hopkins works closely with accountants, brokers, bankers, and other financial service providers to develop comprehensive estate plans that accomplish our clients’ objectives. When you establish a will, you essentially create your own law, governing how your estate will be administered. If the distribution of your estate is not planned out correctly, there is a chance that the Government may “inherit” too much of your estate. Recognizing that most clients are primarily concerned with the transfer of property to the next generation, estate attorney Hopkins is well versed in estate law in order for you to take full advantage of wealth transfer opportunities. This helps to minimize costs both during and in the afterlife. Instead of letting this happen to something that you’ve worked so hard to build, let Damon C. Hopkins help you.
Your will is an important estate planning document that determines the distribution of assets and property to your loved ones after you pass away. Choosing Damon C. Hopkins as your estate attorney provides you with a sophisticated estate plan for all sizes, types, and complexities of estates. Attorney Hopkins will carefully work with you to determine your unique needs. This is essential in guaranteeing that you get the results you want.
Not sure who will make important health care and financial decisions for you when you are no longer able to do so? Establish a power of attorney and a living will so you can rest assured that you are covered if something were to happen to you. By trusting Attorney Hopkins for guidance through the living will or power of attorney process, you will feel confident in the decisions you’re making and receive the assurance that these important documents are completed properly.
Damon C. Hopkins provides 24 years of experience to people in need of legal assistance in settling an estate of a loved one. He works closely with each estate executor or administrator to ensure that he or she is involved in every facet of the administration, from the initial estate decisions to the final distribution of assets. At other law offices, your estate is handled by a paralegal, but not at Hopkins Law Office. Attorney Hopkins personally handles every estate, taking the time to learn the specific details of your case, looking out for all potential problems, and assuring the timely settlement of the estate.
What Happens if Someone Dies Without a Will?
If someone dies without having a legal will in place (what is known as dying “intestate”) the dispersion of their assets is determined by the State. In Pennsylvania, your assets will be divided among your closest living relatives.
What is a Living Will?
A living will allows you to make healthcare decisions now if you become ill and unable to communicate those wishes at a later date. A Pennsylvania Living Will is often called an Advanced Directive. Having a living will helps guarantee that someone receives the care that they wish to get if they become incapacitated and can’t articulate those at a later time. Living Wills can also include a Medical Power of Attorney, which provides limited authority to a named individual or individuals to make healthcare decisions in your behalf if you are unable to do so.
What is a Power of Attorney?
A power of attorney (POA) is a written authorization to represent or act on another person’s behalf in private affairs, legal matters, and financial transactions. There are multiple types of decisions that the attorney-in-fact can be given the power to make, including the power to:
Make financial decisions
Make gifts of money
Make health care decisions, including the ability to consent in giving, withholding, or stopping medical treatments
Recommend a guardian
Why Should I have a Will and a Trust?
A will is necessary to ensure that your wishes are honored after your death. This includes your choice of estate administrator, who the beneficiaries are, and spells out who the guardians are for minor children. Many estate plans do not require a trust, however; trusts are often essential to ensure the proper management of property that is left to minors, disabled, or irresponsible children. Trusts can also significantly reduce the death taxes of larger estates, too.
What is a Discretionary Trust?
A discretionary trust is created either during the lifetime of the settlor, or through a person’s will for one or more persons, and it explains that the trustee retains discretion to determine the level of assets provided to the beneficiaries of the trust. Under current Pennsylvania law, a properly drafted discretionary trust (that may include a special needs trust) can make assets available for a person with disabilities without disqualifying that individual from important government programs. In order to properly draft a discretionary trust, call estate attorney Damon C. Hopkins.
How do I Properly Plan my Estate if I’m part of an Unmarried Couple in Erie, PA?
For estate planning purposes, couples who are not planning to get married have to be careful to ensure that they have a valid Pennsylvania Will in place, providing each other all assets that they would like their partners to receive should one pass away unexpectedly. This way, their estate will be distributed based on their Will, and not via the PA intestacy laws. Unmarried couples need the assistance of a Pennsylvania Estate Planning Attorney.
Do Same-Sex Marriages Have any Special Requirements When Estate Planning?
Estate planning challenges remain for many LGBTQ individuals who entered into legal unions before marriage was an option. Estate planning firm Damon Hopkins Law, which works with LGBTQ clients, helps make sure same-sex unions are legitimate in the eyes of the law. Attorney Hopkins highly recommends a careful review of any existing estate planning documents that have been drafted before 2015.
Do Single People Estate Plan? What is the Point if So?
Estate Planning for singles is almost identical to if you were planning as a married couple. However, there are some things that are altered. Call Attorney Hopkins, he will make sure all papers are filled out correctly. If you are that single person with no estate plan, do not wait until the last minute. Death bed planning is not fun, and neither is becoming incapacitated and not having named the right people to care for you and your assets. Put a plan in place to take care of yourself now, while you are the decision maker.
How to Properly Estate Plan if I am a Veteran?
Whether you’re a veteran or just starting out in the military, planning and preparing your estate is of vital importance. Without proper planning, you have no say about who gets what, and more of your property may go to unintended recipients instead of your loved ones. If you care about how and to whom your property is distributed, you need to prepare your estate plan. Call Attorney Hopkins and work with someone who has over 30 years of experience in estate planning for veterans and their families.
How do I Change My Estate after my Second Marriage in Erie, PA?
Estate planning for second marriages can be complicated, especially when we add separate kids and assets to the equation. The first step to planning with second marriages, with separate kids and assets, is to have a meeting with the couple and find out their goals for estate planning. There are many different ways to create estate planning for second marriages. One way is to leave everything to the other spouse. Another strategy is to leave everything in trust for the kids or grandkids, and allow the trust to be used for the spouse’s benefit during life for health, maintenance, comfort, etc. Attorney Damon Hopkins understands the complications and will discuss all options that could best suite for your situation. Call to schedule an appointment today.
Call my office today to schedule a consultation.