Estate Planning Lawyers | Lewes Office
1413 Savannah Road, Suite 1, Lewes, DE 19958
Estate Planning Lawyers | Bethany Beach Office | Serving Lewes, DE
209 5th St, Bethany Beach, DE 19930
Estate Planning Lawyers | Rehoboth Beach Office | Serving Lewes, DE
19354 Miller Rd, Building C, Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971
Estate Planning Lawyers | Georgetown Office | Serving Lewes, DE
30 East Pine Street, PO Box 151, Georgetown, DE 19947
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Wills and Trusts are powerful estate planning documents that allow you to name beneficiaries and provide instructions on how your assets should be distributed to them after you pass away or become incapacitated. Wills are validated in probate court (also known as a surrogate’s court) and can contain burial instructions, funeral arrangements, and more. Trusts can allow you to avoid probate court altogether by naming trustees to distribute your estate in place of a court or judge.
Power of attorney documents allow you to name third parties to tend to your affairs during your lifetime. For example, a financial power of attorney allows you to designate a trusted individual or company to manage your bank accounts, stock brokerage accounts, and other finances. A power of attorney can be limited or durable depending on whether you would like to specify how long it lasts and to what extent, or whether you intend for it to be permanent and unconditional. It can also allow a third-party designee to manage your real estate and other tangible and intangible properties.
Living Wills and/or Healthcare Directives relate to medical treatment during your lifetime, especially during incapacitation. For example, you can name a loved one to make life-and-death decisions for you, including whether to pull to plug or to accept medical treatment or surgery from a doctor or hospital on your behalf. These types of estate planning documents, like powers of attorney, are only effective during your lifetime.
An estate planning attorney may provide a free consultation, and subsequent work may be performed on a flat fee or hourly basis. The total cost of these services will depend on the complexity of your estate and the extent of documents that you need to have prepared. For instance, if you don’t own much property and only intend to create a simple will to dispose of small personal assets and provide for funeral instructions, your cost may not exceed a few hundred dollars. A more complex will combined with a trust, can run into thousands of dollars, depending on your needs. Other documents, such as powers of attorney or medical directives, can be prepared on a flat-fee basis. However, hourly fees can vary depending on an attorney’s years of experience.
Because state law and individual circumstances are unique, hiring an estate planning attorney is advised especially if you own substantial assets and want to properly plan your future (and your family’s future) accordingly. An estate planning lawyer can help you decide which kinds of documents are right for you; a law firm can also guide you toward the best legal strategies to use to minimize your estate taxes and provide the most for your future beneficiaries.
In legal practice, experience matters. An experienced attorney will likely have handled issues similar to yours many, many times. Therefore, after listening to your situation, the attorney should have a reasonable idea of the time line for a case like yours and the likely resolution.
An experienced lawyer should be able to communicate a basic “road map” on how to proceed. The lawyer should be able to walk you through the anticipated process, key considerations, and potential pitfalls to avoid. Once you’ve laid out the facts of your situation to the lawyer, he/she should be able to frame expectations and likely scenarios to help you understand your legal issue.
The more experienced a lawyer is in legal practice, the more likely he/she will be able to bring about a successful resolution to your issue. Since experience matters, lawyers who’ve been practicing law for many years (with a successful track record) tend to be in high demand. You should look for information about a lawyer’s experience and ask questions during the initial meeting. It’s a very good idea to ask the lawyer how many years he/she has been practicing law and the expected outcome of your case.
Personal jurisdiction – Requirement that a particular court have authority over a person, in order to bind that person to the judgment of the court, based on minimum contacts. International Shoe Co v. Washington is a landmark Supreme Court case outlining the scope of a state court’s reach in personal jurisdiction.