Legal Assistance for Wills, Trusts,
Power of Attorney, & Probate
With over 45 years of experience, the Law Office of James T. Cooper provides valuable legal assistance to help you with your estate planning and related needs such as setting up a will, trust, power of attorney documentation, and expediting wills through probate.
If you do not leave explicit instructions regarding how your estate (your home, real property, accounts, etc.) should be distributed upon your death, your heirs will face the time consuming and expensive process of dealing with the courts to manage your final affairs according to standard laws designed to handle the estates of those who die intestate (without valid wills), which may violate your intentions. The simplest way to avoid leaving such a burden to your loved ones is to draft a simple will.
Draft a Will to Protect Your Estate
If you have a spouse, children, or other loved ones who you would like to leave your possessions to upon your death, you should draft a will to protect your estate and ensure that your belongings will be distributed to their intended recipients following your departure.
No one likes to think about death, but it can happen to anyone at any time. In fact, if you are reading this and do not already have at least a basic will drawn up, you should immediately pick up your phone and call the Law Office of James T. Cooper at (304) 344-3542 to schedule an appointment to have your will created.
The process of having a simple will created is very quick and affordable. We will ask you a series of questions, draw up your will, and you will save your loved ones an immense amount of strife should you pass unexpectedly. Don’t wait. Call to have your will written right now.
Trusts: An Important Component of
a Well-Designed Estate Plan
Trusts are an important component of a well-designated estate plan. A trust is used to allow a trustee (a third party) to hold assets for a beneficiary. There are many types of trusts. Unlike a will, a trust can be used to specify precisely when and under what conditions assets will pass to the beneficiary or beneficiaries. Some of the additional benefits of a trust include the ability to:
- Avoid Costly Court Fees and Taxes
- Avoid Lengthy Probate and Estate Taxes
- Control Assets Both During Your Life and After (with a Revocable/Living Trust)
- Maintain Some Sense of Privacy (Some Assets Can Pass Outside of Public Probate)
- Protect the Integrity of the Estate (from Creditors or Financially Inept Heirs)
Contact the Law Office of James T. Cooper at: (304) 344-3542 to discuss the many ways that a trust can help you during your life and help your heirs following your death. There are a wide variety of options. Learn more about the types and benefits of the various types of trusts and contact our office to schedule a consultation.
Designate a Power of Attorney to Safeguard Your Affairs
It is a typically a wise decision to designate a trusted friend or family member to serve as your power of attorney agent to safeguard your affairs right now, while you are still competent to make this decision. An agent serving as your power of attorney will be granted the ability to control certain affairs for you should you become incapacitated. Rights may be granted to control anything from one particular aspect of your life to all of your affairs.
The actions of the power of attorney are legally accepted as the actions of the principal (you). It is therefore important that you select an honest and trustworthy individual to serve as your Power of Attorney.
Some of the actions that the power of attorney agent is typically authorized to make on behalf of the principal include:
- Controlling all Financial Affairs (Paying Bills, Making Monetary Gifts, etc.)
- Making All Health Care Decisions (Including the Ability to Withhold Medical Care)
- Acting on the Principal’s Behalf in all Ways
Healthcare Power of Attorney
A separate document known as a health care power of attorney can be utilized to grant the ability of an agent to control only the health care decisions for the principal.
In the absence of a designated power of attorney, the state will appoint a guardian to control your affairs in case you become legally incompetent or incapacitated. The guardian chosen by the court may be an individual who controls the financial and other affairs of individuals for a living (for profit). With little actual practical judiciary oversight, professional guardianship has a history of being plagued with fraud and abuse.
Attorney Cooper Assists With Probate Settlement
Following death, the probate document (typically a will) is filed at the courthouse to begin the process of verifying the validity of the will and settling the estate. The will is examined and the executor/ executrix is assigned (or administrator, if there is no will). Any outstanding debts of the estate are resolved and the remainder of the estate is distributed according to the instructions in the will.
Attorney James T. Cooper will assist you with navigating the probate process to ensure that the mandates of the probate document are handled appropriately according to all relevant laws and that your duties are carried out in accordance with all applicable laws.
The Law Office of James T. Cooper will assist you with all of your estate planning needs. Contact us at (304) 344-3542 to schedule a consultation to discuss your planning needs and gain the peace of mind of knowing that your final affairs will be handled according to your wishes.