FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. Do I need a Will or a Trust?
Ask yourself if you know where you stand if you don’t have one of these documents. Virginia law will control what happens to the property of a Virginia resident at his or her death if the individual has no legal documents controlling where assets will go.
Creating a Will or Trust allows you to direct which assets will go to designated beneficiaries, who you want to be in charge of administering and managing the estate or trust, when and how your beneficiaries will inherit. If you have a minor child, then you can designate in your Will who you wish to be the guardian of your minor child.
A Living Trust or Revocable Trust can be a valuable part of an estate plan. Having a trust does not eliminate the need for a Will. We can help you determine if a trust would be appropriate for you.
If you have a loved one with special needs, it is important to consider how your loved one will be provided for after you are gone. A Special Needs Trust is invaluable in many such cases.
There are many types of trusts. Trusts can provide tax benefits and can reduce the expenses of estate administration.
2. What is “probate”?
Probate is the court process of proving and recording a Will as the authentic and valid Last Will and Testament of a deceased person. Qualification of an Executor usually takes place when a Will is probated.
3. Can I change my Will after I create it?
You can revoke your Will during your lifetime, as long as you are mentally competent. You must be at least eighteen years old and "of sound mind and disposing memory."
4. Are there taxes when someone dies?
Generally, yes. A probate tax applies when probate of a Will occurs which is based on the value of the assets transferred by a Will. A final income tax return for the deceased person may need to be filed. Virginia and federal estate tax returns may also be required. You should consult with an accountant about tax filings.
5. I don’t want to be hooked up to machines when I die. How can I avoid this?
You can sign a “Living Will” (also known as a “Death With Dignity Declaration”) or an "Advanced Medical Directive" by which you can direct that you want to die naturally and that you do not wish to be kept alive by artificial means to prolonging your dying in the event your death is imminent as determined by your attending physician.
6. How much do you charge for a Will?
During an initial estate planning appointment with our law firm, you can explain to us your wishes and ask questions. We can answer your questions and explain your options. At the conclusion of this meeting, you can let us know what documents you want drafted. We can then quote you a fee based on the work to be done. If you decide that you do not want to proceed, then there would be no charge for the initial estate planning appointment. If you decide you do want to proceed, then you can sign an engagement agreement with our law firm which will describe the work to be done at the quoted price.