Knowledgeable, Effective Guidance

Getting The Will, Trust And Estate Plan That’s Right For You

At the Downs Law Firm, I understand the importance of securing a future that provides for you and the ones you love. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to estate planning. Every family’s situation is different.

However, every person needs some kind of planning to ensure that their desires are met and their loved ones and assets are protected in the event of death. We will work together to determine the most effective estate plan for your unique situation.

Estate Plans And Issues I Regularly Handle

The documents and estate plan you need are always tailored to your situation and goals. You may want a simple will with a power of attorney (POA) and a health care directive. If you have a child with special needs, sizable investments or more than one property or residence, a trust may be in your best interest.

I can assist you by creating a variety of documents to suit your estate planning needs including:

  • Last Will and Testament
  • Health Care Directives (Living Will/Medical Power of Attorney) that tell your loved ones the type of medical care and treatments you want
  • Financial Powers of Attorney that delegate who has the power to take care of your finances
  • Beneficiary Deed
  • Revocable Living trusts/A-B trusts/testamentary trusts which can protect assets and help your estate not have to go through the probate process
  • Special needs trusts for dependents who are unable to manage their own finances
  • Charitable gifts/trusts to favorite organizations
  • Pour Over Wills
  • Beneficiary designations because your accounts will need this to avoid being probated
  • Specific bequests that you want to ensure happen
  • Disinheritance when there are major changes in your relationships
  • Estate administration and probate

It’s important to sit down and discuss what you want and don’t want. By working with an experienced attorney, your wishes and intents can be clearly documented for your family, close friends and medical staff.

5 Reasons To Create An Estate Plan

There are many, many benefits to creating an estate plan. The most common advantages to having a professionally created plan are:

  1. Guardianship. In your will, you can designate who should raise your children if the unthinkable happens to you and the other parent. You can include as much detail as you would like as to your hopes and intentions for your children.
  2. Naming of beneficiaries. In your will or revocable living trust, you designate “who gets what” so that there are no misunderstandings or confusion as to what you would have wanted. Wills and revocable living trusts are fluid and can be changed or updated should events in your life require it.
  3. Probate. Revocable living trusts can avoid the probate process if set up properly. Likewise, a properly drafted Last Will and Testament will make the probate process much smoother for you and your loved ones.
  4. Protect assets and reduce taxes. Strategic gifting can work to reduce taxes.
  5. A plan in place. When you name your POA, everyone understands that is who you chose to take care of your financial matters in the event that you become incapacitated. If you also have a living will/health care directive then your family and medical staff understand what your wishes are for treatment if you are unable to tell them. You can also designate a heath care proxy which is someone to make health care decisions for you if you aren’t able to yourself.
  6. Peace of mind. Getting your wishes documented now means that your family will not have to make decisions and then wonder if they did the right thing.

Taking the time to plan today means that you won’t have to worry about these things later. I can help.

Get The Plan You Need And The Future You Deserve

I am committed to giving you, my client, the personal attention you deserve. Contact me to set up a time to talk about what you need. Call 618-505-2495 or send me an email via this website form, and I will get in touch with you. Located in Edwardsville I serve clients throughout the East St. Louis metro area. I am licensed to practice in both Missouri and Illinois.