Northern Virginia Trusts Attorneys Offer Comprehensive Estate Planning Services

Extensive experience helping Virginia families create a plan to fit your needs

It is important to have confidence that your estate plan will successfully accomplish your goals. You have worked hard to build wealth during your lifetime, and you deserve to have it handled in accordance with your wishes. Drafting the right will and trust for you is an essential part of the estate planning process. At Altman and Associates, we focus solely on estate planning and take our responsibility to clients seriously. We are dedicated to walking you through your options and ensuring we create a plan that is best for your personal situation. We have more than 40 years combined experience helping individuals and families in Maryland, Washington D.C. and Northern Virginia.

What is a living trust, and are there any tax benefits?

The primary benefit of a trust is to avoid a complicated and expensive probate process. A living trust simply means that it is created while you are living, rather than coming into existence as a result of your death. You can name yourself as the “trustee” while you are living, meaning you still retain control over the assets you have placed in your trust.

The amount of taxes your beneficiaries will owe depends on a number of factors, including:

  • The size of the estate
  • The location of the assets
  • The structure of the trust
  • How ownership of the property is structured (Ex: is your home owned in joint tenancy with a spouse?)

Each individual situation is unique, and it is important that you walk through your assets with a competent, local estate planning attorney so you fully understand your future tax liabilities. We have more than 40 years of combined experience helping clients evaluate their estate and creating trusts for them, when appropriate. We find that knowing the legal landscape and having a plan in place gives our clients peace of mind as they approach the future.

If I have a trust, do I need a will?

In short, yes. There are several reasons you should have a will, including:

  • In cases where there is a trust, sometimes not all of your property makes it into the trust. What’s known as a “pour-over will” can ensure left over property makes it into the will. Or, if there is property that you intentionally leave out of your trust, you can use the will to provide instructions on how you would like it to be handled.
  • If you don’t have a will or trust documents, your estate will be handled according to Virginia law and distributed to your closest relatives – possibly not as you intended.

The complexity of wills can range from very simple to incredibly lengthy and detailed, depending your desires and estate plan. What is most important is that it is done right to ensure your wishes are met and an easy administrative process for your heirs. A will contest can add time and money to the administration process, and sometimes lead to lasting rifts within families. We know each person and family has different needs. We take the time to get to know your estate planning goals so we can craft a personalized, comprehensive plan that works for you and accurately accomplishes your wishes.

Trust our skilled Northern Virginia estate planning attorneys

The award-winning Northern Virginia estate planning attorneys at Altman and Associates are happy to help individuals and families in Northern Virginia with all your estate planning goals. Professionalism and integrity are essential to our practice, and we are committed to providing the highest quality of service to our clients. Call us at 301- 468-3220 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.

What Is A Trust?

A trust is a fiduciary arrangement that allows a third party, or trustee, to hold assets on behalf of a beneficiary or beneficiaries. Trusts can be arranged in many ways and can specify exactly how and when the assets pass to the beneficiaries. … Other benefits of trusts include: Control of your wealth.

What Is A Living Trust?

A living trust is one way to plan for passing on your estate—property, investments and other assets—to your family or other beneficiaries. It’s a legal agreement people often use to plan ahead for the possibility of becoming mentally incapacitated or so that the burdensome probate process can be avoided when they die.1 When you die, a living trust can act like a will, even replacing the need for one.2

One type of living trust can shelter assets from taxes, creditors or legal problems. All living trusts are either revocable or irrevocable. They’re created and go into effect while you’re living. The most significant difference between them involves who can manage the trust’s assets and whether the trust’s terms can ever be changed.

When you pass away, you want to be confident that your belongings and property will go to the right people. Creating an estate plan can help you do that, and a trust can be part of it. A trust is a legal entity in which you can place your assets to be used by you or your future heirs. Like a last will and testament, a trust has rules about which assets go to whom and how the assets can be used.

Trusts can also be used while you’re still alive. These are called living trusts or inter-vivos trusts. You may use these types of trusts to, for example, create a fund for your children to access when they reach a certain age.

With another kind of trust — an irrevocable trust — you relinquish your ability to cancel the trust or modify its terms, in return for certain benefits like minimizing taxes or protecting your assets from creditors.  Keep in mind that a trust is just one part of an estate plan.

What Are The Disadvantages of a Virginia Living Trust?

  • A living trust allows someone to transfer legal ownership of assets to a trustee
  • Cost: One of the primary drawbacks to using a trust is the cost necessary to establish it
  • More Complex: Trusts are often much more complex to draft compared to wills
  • Lack of Tax Advantages
  • Inconvenience

How do I choose a Virginia trust attorney?

If you want to plan your estate but have a complicated financial situation, look for an attorney with a great deal of experience drafting trusts, ideally someone with a tax background as well. You may need to find someone who has knowledge or expertise in multiple areas.