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, how the assets will be managed, and when your beneficiaries will receive their inheritance.
If you have a child or children, then your Will a) can designate who you want to raise your children in the event you and your child's parent die if a child is age 18 years or younger, and b) can control the age at which your child would receive his or her inheritance.
If you have a loved one with special needs, it is important to talk to an estate lawyer about how your estate plan can provide for them after you are gone. A Special Needs Trust can help your loved one continue to receive government benefits while also benefitting from the Trust.
There are many types of trusts. Trusts can provide tax benefits. Some trusts are not subject to the probate process and therefore not subject to probate taxes.
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) Are there taxes when someone dies?
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.
4) I don’t want to be hooked up to machines when I die. How can I avoid this?
Many people sign a “Living Will” or “Death With Dignity Declaration” by which you can direct that you do not want to be kept alive by life-prolonging procedures in the event your death is imminent as determined by your attending physician and that you wish to die naturally.
5) How much do you charge for a Will?
Once you decide what documents you want our law firm to prepare, after meeting with us at an initial appointment, we then can quote you a fee. If you decide you do not want to have anything drafted, then there would be no charge for the appointment. If you decide you do want the law firm to draft documents for you, then you can sign an engagement agreement detailing the work to be done.