Legal help for your journey through life --
Estate Planning (Wills and Trusts)
Estate planning involves discussing your unique situation and developing plans for issues that can arise during life and, after death, for how your estate will be distributed and managed (e.g. through a probate, trust administration, etc.). Most of us don't like to think about our own death or the potential to experience a serious disability. As a result, estate planning is often delayed. This delay can result in undesirable consequences. Most estate plans are relatively easy but others can be fairly complex. It depends on things like the desire to minimize estate tax, avoid probate, care for loved pets, and/or to provide for ongoing care needs of a loved one. Most plans includes the preparation and execution of legal documents (e.g., Wills and/or Trusts) to help ensure that your plans are followed.
As an Elder Law attorney, I advocate for the elderly and their loved ones. This may involve a wide range of legal subjects affecting the elderly, disabled, and/or terminally ill (e.g., health care, health directives, long term care planning, guardianship, durable power of attorneys, retirement, Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, benefits, and other matters).
While many of these issues are very similar to those handled by estate planners, an elder law attorneys focuses on the needs of adults whose needs may be affected by age, disability and/or terminal illness. These needs can be quite different from those of young healthy adults. For example, an otherwise fiscally sound estate plan may be completely wrong for a couple with one spouse requiring long term residential care. Additionally, the needs elder law considers go beyond traditional financial matters and estate planning, to include the actual daily care and protection of the adult (e.g., elder physical and/or financial abuse and residential and/or home care).
Probate is simply a legal method of handling a deceased person's estate to ensure that debts are paid and that the desired heirs receive the assets from the estate in accord with the deceased persons written wishes (Will) or under the Intestate statutes of the state (i.e. there is no valid Will). Unlike some states, probates in both Washington and Oregon are both relatively easy processes but usually require legal assistance to ensure that all of the required steps are taken and filings made within a reasonable time frame.
Guardianship & Conservatorships
This is a complex legal process used to protect those who are unable to care for their own well-being, either personally, financially or both. This can be due to the age of the person (either youth or advanced age) which affect mental incapacity and/or physical disability. Guardianship is only appropriate when there is no other, less intrusive, way to provide for the individual requiring assistance.
Small Business Formation
Many people start small businesses thinking that it is best to be a sole proprietor until they become large enough to warrant looking into forming a business entity. However, forming a business entity designed to separate business from person assets and liabilities should be carefully considered before starting business. We are here to help with that process, and to assist with setting-up an entity (e.g., limited liability company, corporation, etc.) best suited for your unique needs.
In addition to normal business needs, non-profits have additional complexity to manage. Setting up the right type of entity and perhaps filing for Charitable 501(c)(3) status from the IRS is just one of the many issues that need to be evaluated and addressed.