specializes in estate planning and probate administration in order to provide
top quality legal representation. If a
client has legal needs outside of our specialty, referrals are made to other
attorneys in those areas.
individuals, a simple plan consisting of a will, financial power of attorney
and medical directives may take care of the client’s needs in an efficient
it may be advisable to incorporate ways to simplify the administration of the
estate through reduction of probate procedures, including the use of revocable
living trusts. These clients may not be
exposed to estate tax, but want to arrange their estates so that property can
pass to their beneficiaries as easily as possible.
clients, their estates will result in estate taxes, and their situation may
call for a more complex approach involving trusts created at death and trusts
and transfers while living in order to reduce potential estate taxes. Such a plan will make use of the available
exemptions from estate taxes at death, and if there is still some estate tax
exposure, the plan will consider transfers during lifetime to reduce further
any estate taxes. There are a large
number of techniques that are available, and the choice of which to use depends
on the assets and the client’s goals.
Among some of the estate tax techniques that can be used are annual
gifts, family partnerships, partial interest gifts of land, life insurance,
special trusts for residences, and many other options.
plan will address not only how property is divided at death, but also make sure
that a plan is in place for incapacity. Most clients will sign medical and
financial powers to set out who will handle these affairs if the client is living
but cannot handle these matters for himself or herself.
planning cases are handled on a fixed-fee basis so that the client knows the
total cost at the onset. However, this
cost can be determined only after a meeting to review of estate and determine
how to achieve your goals.
Cunningham can help clients in any of these categories put together an estate
plan that addresses their situation and specific needs.
person dies, his or her estate must be administered so that the estate is
distributed as planned. The estate must
determine the debts and pay them. Final
income tax returns must be filed. Any
property passing under the Will must go through the probate procedures as
required by law. Depending on the amount
of the probate assets and whether everything passes to a spouse, there are
shortened forms of probate that may be available. If the estate is large enough to require an
estate tax return, the estate must compile the information needed and file the
administration of an estate, the location and type of assets are usually the
most important factors in determining how to handle the estate. This is where an estate plan that was planned
well and carried out pays off by reducing the work needed. It is important that an estate be handled at
the time to be sure that all important matters, including proper valuation of
the assets, are completed so that there are not problems down the road.
Cunningham can work with the executor of an estate to handle all of the court
probate procedures and the estate tax issues.