Services

Plitz Estate Planning focuses its practice solely on Estate Planning and Administration. There are no distractions with divorce law, or personal injury, or any other type of law. This means that you will get the best advice possible to meet your estate planning needs.

The Plitz Planning Process helps develop the relationship needed to create your personalized plan. And it starts with the FREE Initial Prospect Interview. Our services are typically on a flat fee basis – because of the personalized approach, exact fees for your plan will only be known after the Initial Prospect Interview. We only work with people and families that care – care about their families, care about doing things right, care about today and tomorrow.

Revocable Living Trust

A revocable living trust is the center piece of most properly planned estates. A trust is created when a trustor (also known as grantor or settlor) gives assets to a trustee for the benefit of the beneficiary of the trust. This is true for any and all types of trust. A revocable trust means that the terms of trust can be changed at any time. Also, with the vast majority of revocable trusts, you fill all three roles (trustor, trustee, and beneficiary). When a revocable trust is properly and fully funded, it will avoid probate, enabling your family and loved ones to administer your estate without the bureaucracy and oversight of the State’s probate court system.
Further, a revocable trust is effective as soon as it is signed – this means that if you became incapacitated (mentally, like with Alzheimer’s, or physically), the person you have selected to manager your affairs will step in as trustee. This removes the need to have a court appoint a guardian and/or conservator – once again, removing the State’s court system from your family and affairs.
Not every revocable trust is the same. The language that goes into each trust is important to ensure your goals are met, your values preserved, and ultimately, your Legacy stays intact. By working through the Plitz Planning Process, you will have the peace of mind knowing that your goals will be met, and your family will be taken care of.

Last Will

A last will, sometimes referred to as a last will and testament, is a legal document that provides instructions to a judge as to what happens to your estate after you pass away. The last will nominates your personal representative (you may know the role more familiarly as the executor or executrix), who is charged with going through the probate process and ultimately distributing the assets of your estate in accordance with the distributions you set-forth in your last will. A last will is only effective upon your death, meaning that if you became incapacitated, there is no built-in decision makers – a court appointed guardian and/or conservator may be needed.

Most people think that when you plan your estate with a last will, their family will not have to go through the State’s probate system. This is just not true. A last will go through probate.

If you have a minor child (under the age of 18), a last will is a critical piece to your estate plan. The last will is where you, as the parent, nominate the guardian of your minor child if you were to pass away. Every single parent should have a last will.
When planning with a revocable trust, the last will is important to be a safety net for any asset not titled into your trust’s name. This type of last will is known as a “Pour Over Will”. A pour over will goes through probate, but after the probate is complete, the asset that was not already titled in your trust will be poured into (also known as retitled) the trust – allowing the trust, and all of its protections and provisions, to distribute to your loved ones.

Health Care and Advanced Directives

Decisions about your personal health are critical to be made timely. Whether you are eighteen (18) or one-hundred and eighter (118), or any age between, everyone should have their Health Care documents (also known as Advanced Directives) in place. Overall, these directives need to be properly written so that your decision makers are not arguing with the hospital administrators or legal team while your critical health decisions are needing to be made.

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a. Health Care Power of Attorney

Your health care power of attorney is the document that authorizes the person you have selected (known as your agent) to make health decisions on your behalf when you are unable to do so for yourself.

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b. Living Will

Your living will is the document that directs your health care agent, in consultation with your treating physician(s), to make your decisions as to what to do regarding life support – do you want to stay on the life support or would you want to be removed from the life support.

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c. HIPAA Authorization

HIPAA (or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability) authorization is, quite simply, who you are permitting to speak with your doctors and receive your protected health information.

Financial Power of Attorney

A financial power of attorney gives authority to the person you select (known as an agent) to handle your finances for any asset or debt that is in your name. In most cases, the power of attorney needs to be durable – ensuring that it will continue to work, even if you become incapacitated. Keep in mind that a power of attorney is given, not taken.

Trust Administration

When someone passes away, there is a certain process that needs to be followed. When that person planned their estate with a revocable living trust, that process is called trust administration. Simply put, trust administration starts with the gathering of assets, then the assets are valued, proper notices are given, accountings are created, and then the distributions in accordance with the terms of the trust are completed. Though it reads “simply put”, not every administration is simple. Having an experienced attorney helping you along the way ensures that there are no missteps along the way and there is a reduction in the tensions between family members Even if we did not write the trust, we can help you with the trust administration.

Uncontested Probate

Probate, or probate court, is the State’s system to transfer assets from a dead person to living people. Whether you have a last will or have no plan at all, if you pass away, you are sending your family through the court system. Like with most things, probate is not always a bad thing, and in fact, at times it is needed or just really simple. But overall, the probate process introduces a level of risk – risk of “something” going wrong that can take more time or consume more money. And the biggest risk when you are in probate is that someone contests the proceedings. Unfortunately, Plitz Estate Planning does not handle contested matters.

However, if you are looking for advice and guidance to navigate through the probate process, we can help you with that.

Advanced Planning

For people with more complicated situations there are many advanced planning tools and techniques that can be put into place to achieve the desired outcomes. Advanced techniques typically work to reduce income tax issues, estate tax issues, and/or add components of asset protection to the foundational estate planning techniques. Determining the right tools, and the appropriate amount of complexity, is critical when deciding whether advanced planning is needed in your situation.

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a. Irrevocable Trusts

Like a revocable living trust, the irrevocable trust holds assets for the benefit of a beneficiary. However, unlike the revocable trust, an irrevocable trust cannot be changed – the language of the trust is locked in place. Irrevocable trusts are used as gifting vehicles – such as a grandparent giving money to their minor grandchild.

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b. Life Insurance Trusts

Life insurance trusts are a form of irrevocable trust that are designed to hold life insurance. These are used in two primary situations: 1) when you want to have the death benefit pass outside the reach of an estate tax, or 2) when your estate is illiquid (such as when your main assets are real estate or farmland), and there is a need to provide liquidity to the overall estate.

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c. Charitable Trusts

Charitable trusts are designed to provide benefits to both your family and your favorite charity, while, when set-up properly, gaining you an income tax benefit. If you are charitably inclined, and have highly appreciated assets, then a charitable trust may be the right technique for you.

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d. Limited Liability Companies

A Limited Liability Company, or LLC, is a legal entity to hold and operate your business. Like the name implies, it limits the liability of the owners (called members). LLCs are unique in that it can be set up to be taxed how the owner wants (as an S-Corp, a partnership (if there are multiple members), or a disregarded entity), without affecting the asset protection attributes. Many times people think it is simple to create an LLC – the misplaced assumption is that once you file the Articles of Organization, you are all set. The key to creating and operating a well formed and functioning LLC is the operating agreement – the set of rules that govern the operations of your LLC.

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e. Corporations

Corporations are a legal entity to hold and operate your business. The key feature of the corporate structure is that it limits the potential liability of the investors to the amount of money invested. It is important to have well written by-laws, and then follow the rules that have been set out in those by-laws (e.g. holding an annual meeting). You do not want to give anyone the ability to “Pierce the Corporate Veil.”

Family Support and Protection Program

The Family Support and Protection Program is designed to allow you to get the level of service you desire to provide you with the peace of mind you deserve.