Estate Planning Overview

Estate Planning

Losing a loved one is an extremely difficult process, which an unorganized estate can make a lot harder. Thankfully, you can help eliminate heartache and resentment between your loved ones by planning your estate before your passing.

Estate planning is not only about who gets your stuff when you die though.  It’s also about planning for an emergency, putting someone in charge, leaving them instructions, and giving the power for them to act without having to go to court.

By planning your estate, you can answer critical questions so those you care won’t be guessing for years to come. We know the estate planning process can be complicated, that’s why at Cherry Tree Legal we try to make this process as easy for you as possible.

Probate & Trust Administration

Probate, estate, and trust administration are the processes through which estate assets are transferred after death. When probate avoidance planning has not been implemented prior to death, the state will require a probate court proceeding.

This process can be incredibly in-depth and confusing for family members and friends that are likely still mourning the loss of their loved one. As probate and trust administrators, our job is to clear the confusion and provide our clients with clear details on what to expect from the probate process, how to understand their responsibilities, and what next steps to take. 

Wealth Protection Planning

Wealth protection planning is all about helping our clients figure out the best course of action to take in order to preserve the wealth and assets they spent so much time and effort accumulating. 

This type of legal planning is especially important for professionals and business owners, whose personal assets could be at risk due the nature of their employment.

Long Term Care & Medicaid Planning

If you or a loved one has experienced a sudden illness or serious accident, you understand how abruptly life can turn upside down. This can result in you or a loved one suddenly needing nursing home care? 

Finding and affording quality care on short notice can be stressful and draining. We can help you determine the best options for care and how to start the process of Medicaid planning to help finance the cost of care.

Medicaid rules provide multiple opportunities for long-term care recipients to preserve assets for themselves, their spouses, children and grandchildren, especially those with special needs. There are more opportunities for those who plan ahead, but even at the last minute, when an application is needed immediately, there are almost always steps still available to preserve some assets.  

Veteran’s Aid & Attendance

Veterans benefits, among other things, can help men and women that have served in our armed forces pay for the assistance they may need in everyday functioning as they get older. If eligible, veteran’s aid and attendance can be a great, sustainable way to offset many of the costs that come with age – though many people don’t even know about it! Our elder law and estate planning attorneys help make the most of this offer for clients that qualify.

Special Needs

Special Needs Estate Planning focuses on providing for the special needs of our loved ones with disabilities when we are no longer there to organize and advocate on their behalf. Parents of children with special needs must make careful estate planning choices to coordinate all of the legal, financial, and special care needs of their children – both now and in the future.

It’s also important to know your options when it comes to managing the medical and financial well-being of your child. Most providers of services, including physicians, dentists, and school personnel, do not question a parent’s authority when the parent is in charge of his or her minor child and the parent is making decisions, recommendations, and participating in all of the areas where a child needs to be represented. Until a child reaches the age of 18, parents have the legal authority to make decisions (medical, financial, etc.) for the child. However, once your child turns 18, your legal relationship could change.

Guardianship

A guardianship is a crucial legal tool that allows one person or entity to make decisions for an adult who can no longer take care of himself/herself because of a mental or physical disability or incapacity. This process requires hiring an attorney who is authorized by the court to handle guardianship proceedings. Appointing a guardian is necessary when a person can no longer make or communicate safe or sound decisions about his/her person and/or property or has become susceptible to fraud or undue influence.