Estate Planning

Asset Protection Planning

A well-protected estate does not hide your assets from discovery.  Instead, it is structured in a way that discloses the title and location of each asset while restricting anyone else's access or claims to them.  Many asset protection plans can also shift income taxes to lower tax brackets.
 
The implementation of your plan depends on the value and the types of assets you own, your exposure to liabilities and the presence of potential creditors.

Estate Planning

Estate planning is more than just the distribution of your assets. A proper plan acts as a guide to managing your wealth and as a statement and legacy to your heirs. It communicates your vision and values for your family's future.

The primary documents that communicate your message are typically a Last Will and Testament, Living Trust, Power of Attorney for Property and a Power of Attorney for Health Care. These documents can also be used to avoid gift taxes, estate taxes and probate. Wealthier and complex estates start with these documents and utilize more advanced techniques, such as charitable, grantor retained, insurance and other irrevocable trusts.

Paying gift and estate taxes is voluntary and it is your decision as to how much, if any, you wish to pay. Failure to properly plan may expose your estate to federal and state estate taxes which could consume around half of the value of your taxable assets.

Family Limited Partnerships/LLCs

Family limited partnerships and limited liability companies are entities that should be considered by individuals with substantial wealth or liability exposure. These entities can be used to protect your wealth from creditors in addition to protecting your family from the entity's liabilities. They can also be an important tool in transferring value to your descendants while taking advantage of the various tax laws.

Family Office

A Family Office is a third-party that centralizes estate planning and provides various financial-related services to make your and your families' lives easier.
 
Managing wealth requires seasoned experts, the right tools and reliable resources.  This is especially needed since each family member has unique demands, needs and resources.  Some of the benefits of using a Family Office to manage your wealth are:
 

  • Effective financial coordination and management of family assets
  • Coordination of various professional disciplines necessary to manage a family's financial affairs
  • Comprehensive income and estate tax planning and charitable giving
  • Introduction of wealth to the next generation in a controlled format
  • A sustainable family legacy built through a unifying entity

The services you require will be unique to your Family Office and may vary at times.  Some of the services we perform are:

  • Bookkeeping, tax return preparation, accounting services
  • Estate Planning (see above)
  • Income Tax planning
  • Investment analysis and oversight
  • Insurance assessment and management
  • Philanthropic giving and management
  • Family Retreats   

Due to the small size of our office, we can provide individualized services and consistent communication with you.  With your prior approval, some of the services we provide are actually performed by other professionals but under our guidance and review.  As an example, we do not directly manage your portfolio of assets but retain firms that are experts in the needed fields.

Prenuptual Agreements

These agreements are very important documents used to protect one’s accumulated and future wealth in case an impending marriage does not work-out as planned.  They can be used to define and eliminate the division of assets, payment of maintenance and other claims upon a dissolution of marriage or death.

Probate

Probate is a legal process that settles a decedent's estate.  A probate court will confirm the appointment of the estate's executor who then settles claims against the estate and distributes assets to the beneficiaries.  Probate is also the forum for will contests, fiduciary challenges and other disputes with the estate.  The attorneys and staff at Pawlan Law, LLC can guide loved ones through this process in a compassionate and efficient manner.
 
Most estates attempt to avoid the probate process due to the added costs and time incurred in settling its affairs.  In some situations, probate can be advantageous as it can reduce an estate's exposure to creditors.  We offer the guidance necessary to decide which option is more advantageous to you.

Trust Administration

Administrating a trust requires the proper interpretation of its terms and the fulfilling of its directions.  It also involves establishing a team of experts who properly manage the assets and have the ability to interact with the trust’s beneficiaries in an empathetic and professional manner.  Representing a trust can be very similar to being counsel to a business and a variety of experience and knowledge is essential.  We represent many trusts and beneficiaries in all aspects of a trust's administration.

Trustee

Our attorneys also serve as trustees for numerous trusts.  We are currently responsible for many businesses and tens of millions of dollars in assets that are controlled by these trusts.  The trustee is a fiduciary to the beneficiaries and must act in their best interests while properly administrating the trust as in accordance with its terms and state laws.  The services provided by the trustee are set forth under Family Office.