Trusts & Estates

A Word From Our President Concerning Trusts and Estates Counseling:

Everyone needs a Will? Or a Trust? Or both? Or none of the above. Estate Planning as practiced by the Northern Virginia trusts and estates lawyers at The Sack Law Firm is not a process which assumes that one size fits all. Because of changes in Federal Tax Law, estate and gift taxes are shrinking as a factor in good Estate Planning. What is not shrinking is the need to figure out what is important to you and what people can best carry-out your wishes after your death or incapacity. It requires the client to be realistic about the strengths and weaknesses of their spouses, children, parents, other family members, etc. Moreover, it mandates that an individual contemplate scenarios that can be upsetting and frankly, scary. What clients need is straight-talk without the legalese that simply causes individuals to tune out. No Will or Trust or Power of Attorney should ever be impossible to comprehend or to explain. The Sack Law Firm strives to deliver quality documents that provide real solutions to an individual's needs and requirements. In every sense, it is a nonsense-free zone.

Beyond basic estate planning, as described herein, The Sack Law Firm can help with life insurance trusts, charitable remainder trusts, estate administration, guardianships, and all the procedures and processes offered by larger law firms at significantly lower fees.

Estate Planning Attorneys Based in Northern Virginia

Planning your estate and establishing certain types of trusts can be important to protect yourself, as well as your assets and loved ones. The trusts and estates lawyers at The Sack Law Firm develop comprehensive estate plans based on each client’s unique goals and interests. We take the time to make sure that we understand your needs, as well as those of your business or family, both in the long term as well as the immediate future. Our attorneys can assist you with wills, powers of attorney, and business succession planning and asset protection services. We also have extensive experience establishing various types of trusts and can work with you to identify which types of trusts may be right for your situation. At The Sack Law Firm, we pride ourselves on providing individual attention and comprehensive representation to each and every client. We serve residents of Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia.

There are many different instruments that can be used to create an estate plan, depending on an individual’s business interests and tax preferences, as well as other considerations that are all factored into devising the appropriate plan for you. The following are the most common types of tools involved in estate planning.

Wills and Living Trusts

Wills are the most common way to set out how you want your assets to be distributed upon your passing. A will names beneficiaries, as well as an executor who will be in charge of managing your estate. In Virginia, wills generally must be signed by two competent witnesses, who also witness the testator’s signature. These documents do not need to be notarized to be valid in the state, but this is advisable for “self-proving” during probate procedures. If you use a notary, there is no need to contact the witnesses before a court accepts the will as valid. Without a will, a person’s property is distributed in accordance with Virginia intestacy law, which gives priority to your closest relatives.

A revocable living trust allows you to place assets into a trust, which means that those assets are still within your control and available for your use while you are alive, but they pass to specified beneficiaries upon your death. “Revocable” means that you are able to alter or revoke the trust at any time during your lifetime. Some assets are not eligible to be placed in revocable living trusts, and a trusts and estates attorney in Northern Virginia can help you create a will to distribute those types of assets.

Powers of Attorney and Advance Medical Directives

A power of attorney can be created to authorize another person to either engage in financial transactions on your behalf or make medical decisions for you. These documents can be either “durable” or “non-durable,” meaning that they can be effective only for situations in which you are unable to make such decisions for yourself or at any time. Powers of attorney established in Virginia are automatically durable unless otherwise expressed in the terms of the document. Advance medical directives set out a person’s specific wishes regarding their own medical care, as well as appointing an agent in the event that the person is incapacitated.

Business Succession Planning and Asset Protection

Business succession planning refers to a plan for how a business will keep running after a person’s death. Often, this is a separate plan that goes beyond addressing that business as an asset in the person’s will. The type of business, and who owns it, determines whether it will be subject to probate. Our Northern Virginia trusts and estates attorneys can advise you on whether probate may be necessary. For example, if an asset is only held in a decedent’s name, it may be subject to probate, but if it is held in a trust or with a joint owner, it may not be subject to probate. Protecting your assets from creditors is also important in developing your estate plan, such as by establishing a trust or foundation that may not be subject to claims.

The attorneys at The Sack Law Firm can help you with other types of trusts that may be appropriate for you, including irrevocable life insurance trusts, grantor retained annuity trusts, and qualified personal residence trusts. We also offer knowledgeable and experienced guidance regarding charitable giving issues, as well as establishing charitable trusts, preparing gift and estate tax returns, dealing with estate tax audits, and establishing trusts for minors.

Contact Our Dedicated Trusts and Estates Lawyers

In addition to our estate planning practice, the Northern Virginia attorneys at The Sack Law Firm offer seasoned legal representation to executors and trustees during all phases of probate proceedings. We understand that these matters may seem complicated, so we will work to make sure that you understand each and every part of your estate plan and how it is designed to fulfill your goals. If you have questions about establishing a trust or planning your estate, contact The Sack Law Firm today to speak with a trusts and estates lawyer in Northern Virginia.