At Berkley Oliver PLLC, we provide comprehensive estate planning services to clients in Shelby County, Spencer County, and throughout Central Kentucky. Planning an estate may seem challenging, but it doesn’t have to be as long as you have trustworthy advice. Whether you need assistance drawing up a Will, providing for a loved one with special needs, or establishing an asset protection strategy, we can help.
When you become our client, our experienced estate planning attorney will take the time to get to know you and tailor an estate plan to your unique needs. You can depend on us to provide you with compassionate, efficient representation and exceptional personal service. Contact our office today to arrange a confidential consultation.
What Type of Estate Planning Documents Do I Need in Shelby County?
Although no two estates are the same, the cornerstone of a well-conceived estate plan is a Last Will and Testament (Will), which determines how your assets will be distributed after you pass away, appoints an executor to administer your estate, and also allows you to name guardians for your minor children.
Without a Will, Kentucky law will make these decisions for you in ways that may not agree with your wishes. Whether you are a single adult, a young couple starting a family, or nearing retirement, is it essential to have a Will. Other important estate planning documents include:
- Durable Power of Attorney to designate an agent to manage your personal business affairs should you become incapacitated due to illness or injury.
- Healthcare Surrogate Designation to name a trusted person as your healthcare representative to make decisions about your medical care if you cannot communicate your preferences.
We understand that people often put off creating a Will because they are uncomfortable thinking about their own mortality, but having one in place is really about planning for your future, and being prepared for the expected and the unexpected.
Also, a Will is not set in stone and can be modified at any time so that it is aligned with lifetime changes, such as getting married, having children, and accumulating assets. By working with our capable trusts and estates attorney, you will have peace of mind, knowing that your financial future is in good hands.
How Trusts Fit Into Your Estate Plan
While a Will is a good first step in planning your estate, many of our clients can benefit from creating trusts. There are several types of trusts, but the two main ones are revocable living trusts and irrevocable trusts:
Revocable Living Trust
This estate planning tool takes ownership of your property but allows you to continue managing it during your lifetime, which is why it is referred to as a “living trust.” One benefit of a revocable living trust is that it avoids probate because you no longer own the assets. This will not only save time and money but also maintain the privacy of the financial arrangements, unlike a Will that goes through the probate process.
In addition, a revocable living trust can help plan for incapacity by naming a trustee to manage the trust assets should you become incapacitated. Notably, while a living trust avoids probate, all trusts must go through a trust administration phase to carry out their terms, however, court oversight is not required for this step with a revocable living trust.
Unlike a revocable living trust, an irrevocable trust is one that cannot be revoked or modified. This type of trust can help with estate planning objectives such as:
- Long-term care/Medicaid planning
- Protecting an heir who lacks financial management skills
- Protecting your estate from creditors’ claims
- Providing for the care of a beloved pet (pet trusts can also be established as a revocable trust)
At Berkley Oliver, we have in-depth knowledge of the rules and regulations established by the Kentucky Uniform Trust Code and will work closely with you to establish a trust-based estate plan that best suits your needs and objectives.
Special Needs Planning
If you are caring for a loved one with special needs, you must carefully plan your estate because leaving an inheritance to that person could disqualify them for government benefits such as Medicaid or Social Security Disability. Our firm works with clients to prepare first-party and third-party special needs trusts to avoid disqualifying beneficiaries from receiving benefits under government programs.
The most common arrangement is a third-party special needs trust. In this arrangement, assets are transferred into the trust and the designated trustee provides for beneficiaries’ needs, such as home furnishings, education, vehicle or travel expenses, or out-of-pocket medical costs.
By contrast, a first-party special needs trust is one that is utilized by a disabled person who receives money through a legal settlement, retirement funds, divorce settlement, life insurance proceeds or an inheritance. The trust holds these assets to maintain that person’s eligibility for government benefits.
The Benefits of Estate Planning in Shelby County
Although many people are aware of the importance of estate planning, nearly half of all Americans don’t have a Will in place, which is the most common estate planning mistake. Our attorneys believe that it’s never too soon to plan ahead – it’s not only a wise choice but also the responsible thing to do for yourself and your family.
After you meet with our knowledgeable estate planning attorney, and we implement a tailored estate plan for you, you will have a plan in place that protects both your assets and your loved ones. Regardless of your financial status or your family circumstances, we believe that estate planning is for everyone. In addition to advising individuals, couples, and families, we also design business succession plans for those with closely held businesses and professional practices.
Above all, our practice is dedicated to providing our clients and the communities we serve with the highest standards of ethics and professionalism. Trust us to guide you through every step of your estate planning journey.
Call Our Experienced Shelby County Estate Planning Attorney Today!
At Berkley Oliver, we believe there is no “one-size-fits-all” plan and will work closely with you to achieve all of your estate planning goals. Don’t wait to plan your estate. Get in touch with us today.
Berkley Oliver PLLC helps clients with estate planning in Shelbyville and Shelby, Spencer, Anderson, Franklin, and Jefferson Counties.