j williams law

anticipating what matters most

2 wisconsin circle, suite 700 -- chevy chase, md 20815

Phone: 301.980.5224 -- Fax: 1.888.266.9899

E-mail: info@jwilliamslaw.com

areas of practice

Estate Planning

Ms. Williams works closely with her clients to develop a personalized estate plan so that they, their family, and loved ones will be cared for in the event of death or disability. She helps clients identify their individual estate planning objectives and goals as she:

  • Assists guardians for minor children,
  • Ensures personal and financial matters are handled according to the client’s direction,
  • Protects assets thru thorough estate planning,
  • Simplifies and in some instances eliminates probate,
  • Preserves and protects inheritance for beneficiaries,
  • Assists beneficiaries with special needs,
  • Assists the Personal Representative with the distribution of assets to intended beneficiaries

Our estate planning process is a comprehensive effort to examine the assets owned by both individuals and couples, evaluate their goals for dividing assets at death, and to minimize the taxes paid as a result of the death of either one or both of them.  The process is then periodically repeated as the life stages and circumstances change.

What are the basic documents I need to begin estate planning?

The basic estate planning documents consist of a will and/or trust, and durable power of attorney for financial and medical decision-making.  Attorney Joyce Ann Williams assists clients by preparing documents vital to a solid and sound estate plan.

Why do I need an estate plan if I don't have a lot of money?

The purpose of an estate plan is to help provide for yourself and your loved ones in the future.  Even a small estate will benefit from a will or other legal documents such as a living trust, in order to ensure that your wishes will be carried out and give directions to your family.  A detailed estate plan can save you and your heirs money by the possible reduction of estate taxes, probate costs and other legal expenses.

What is a "health care proxy" and why would I need one?

A health care proxy is a vital document for everyone over 18.  This document allows you to appoint someone you trust to make health care decisions for you in the event of your incapacity.  For instance - if you are in an accident and are unconscious for a period of time, or you have a stroke and are incapacitated for either hours or days.

Why should I go to the trouble of writing a will?

A will lets you control what happens to your property. If you have minor children, through a will, you can designate who will care for them after your death. Through a will you can name a legal guardian for your children and name an executor to handle the distribution of your estate to your beneficiaries.

What happens if I die without a will?

If you have property, it still must be distributed.  Without a will, the probate court in your area will appoint someone as the administrator of your estate to distribute the property in accordance with the state laws. The costs associated with this are much more than if you name a personal representative in advance and these costs must be paid out of your estate before any property is distributed.

Can I leave my property to anyone I wish?

In general, you can pick the people you want your property to go to and leave it to them in whatever proportions you want, but there are some exceptions. For example, a surviving husband or wife may have the right to a fixed share of the estate regardless of the will. Some states limit how much you can leave to a charity if you have a surviving spouse or children, or if you die soon after making the provision.

Please contact attorney Joyce Ann Williams at info@jwilliamslaw.com for additional information about her estate planning services.

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