Many people have questions regarding the process of setting up a Will or a Trust or administering an estate.
At The Pollock Firm LLC, we are here to help. Please read our FAQs below for short answers to some of the most common questions.
A Will is a document that leaves instructions detailing where you want your assets to go after you die.
A Will lets you decide how you want your estate to be handled, who should be in charge of making sure your assets go where they are supposed to go, and who will care for your minor children. In most cases, a Will is a written document that is signed in the presence of witnesses and a notary.
This formal procedure ensures that a Will holds up in court.
This question is always difficult to answer because everyone’s situation is different.
Some people truly have a simple situation; they don’t have much money, they don’t have minor children and they don’t have complex family dynamics. In such situations, the cost is likely to be between $2000-$3000 for a professionally drafted Will.
If you are on your second marriage, if you have minor children or a special needs child, if you have a business interest, if you have substantial wealth, or if you have properties located in multiple jurisdictions, please contact us for a better idea of pricing because you will likely also need tax, trust, probate and asset protection planning.
If you are a married couple and your Wills are reciprocal, there is usually a substantial discount for the second Will.
While there are many different types of trusts, generally the purpose for almost all trusts is create a way for you (the Grantor) to enable another party (a Trustee) to manage and administer funds for a third party (the Beneficiary).
For most other trusts, the benefit is that the Grantor gets to control how the beneficiaries receive their money and designate a trusted person to manage it until the beneficiary can handle the funds on their own.
Additionally, trusts can allow you to engage in complex tax planning, protect your financial privacy, and to avoid probate.
Not everyone needs a trust. The more complex your family situation, the more you have children or other beneficiaries that you cannot trust to manage their inheritance, the more wealth you have, the more you have assets in multiple jurisdictions, and the more reason you have to avoid probate, then the more a trust can make sense for you.
Speak with an estate planning attorney to discuss your situation and find out whether or not you need a trust.
This question is always difficult to answer because there are many different types of trusts.
Some trusts can be created under a Will; these testamentary trusts are usually cheaper to create, but more expensive to fund upon your death.
Some trusts should be created during your lifetime; these inter vivos trusts are usually more costly to create, but save more time and money upon your death. Adding a trust or multiple trusts to your Will likely will add $400 to $1000 for people who have relatively simple situations.
Simple trusts under a Will include Disclaimer Trusts or Age Restrictions Trusts for minor children. Mid-level trusts, such as Revocable Living Trusts, Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts, and Special Needs Trusts are stand-alone inter vivos trusts that will typically add $2500-$5000 to the cost of a plan.
These more sophisticated trusts take more time to draft plus we also spend additional time working with you and your financial advisors to ensure that you properly fund the trusts.
Customized trusts can also be prepared to minimize taxes and provide probate and asset protection planning.
Frequently people prepare similar or identical trusts for a spouse or their descendants; we do not charge per trust, we charge for our time – so there is usually a substantial discount available for multiple similar trust documents.
Yes, provided it is under the supervision of an attorney.
In New Jersey, an accountant who prepares an estate or inheritance tax return without the supervision of an attorney is engaged in the unauthorized practice of law.
Additionally, in Pennsylvania, an accountant who prepares an inheritance tax return outside the supervision of an attorney is also deemed to be engaged in the unauthorized practice of law.
Please click here to review our process for how we assist clients in creating an estate plan: PollockFirm.com/Estate-Planning-Process
A Will – also known as a “Last Will and Testament” – expresses your desire regarding the handle of your estate after you die. A Living Will is document for while you are alive to express your wishes with respect to your medical care in the event that you become incapacitated.
Power of attorney is an agreement granting one person the legal authority to manage the financial affairs of another person.
Financial Powers of Attorney documents are often obtained together with a Will and a Living Will. A Durable Financial Power of Attorney is effective the moment it is signed and the agent need not wait until the Grantor is incapacitated to act on behalf of the Grantor. This is frequently used between spouses and between an older parent and a child. A traditional Financial Power of Attorney is effective only when it can be proven that the Grantor is incapacitated; this is something that is not always easy to prove.
A traditional Financial Power of Attorney is more common amongst more distant relatives or between friends.
That depends upon the lawyer! Seriously though, regardless of whether you decide to retain our firm, I strongly recommend that you speak with an attorney that focuses primarily on Wills, Trusts and Estates work.
If you really do not need an attorney, most of us will just say so. This can be a very complicated area for those that just dabble in this field. If you have substantial wealth, make sure that the attorney has a Masters Degree in Taxation.
The initials (L.S.) is an abbreviation of the Latin phrase Locus Sigilli. Locus Sigilli is Latin for “the place of the seal” and denotes the area on a contract where the seal is to be affixed. By the 19th century, embossed or impressed seals, and the use of the initials L.S., replaced wax seals in most jurisdictions. We jokingly tell people it means “Legal Signature” when we have trouble remembering the Latin.