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Estate Planning Attorney in Arlington, Virginia

In the estate planning process, an individual typically selects one or more arrangements that orchestrate the management of the individual’s estate during his or her life and disposition of the estate on death. Those arrangements may include, but are not limited to, durable powers of attorney, wills, trusts established under wills, revocable, living trusts, credit shelter trusts, trusts for minors, irrevocable life insurance trusts, and various other types of trusts.

Estate planning requires collaboration between an individual and an attorney in the planning and execution of a series of steps. Important steps normally include collection and review of relevant information, identification of the objectives to be accomplished, formulation of an estate plan, and the preparation and execution of documents required to implement the estate plan. An individual’s attorney must take into account all information that may assist the attorney in selecting and designing the components to be included in the individual’s estate plan. Relevant information includes information about the individual’s estate, the persons selected by the individual to receive assets on his or her death, and the individual’s estate planning objectives.

Identification of Objectives in The Estate Planning Process

Identifying an individual’s objectives is a critical step in developing an effective estate plan. Success in the estate planning process for an individual is measured by the extent to which the estate plan is well designed to accomplish the individual’s objectives.

The following list illustrates the types of objectives that estate planning may accomplish.

  • Establishing a suitable form of ownership for holding property to be distributed to beneficiaries, such as ownership in a trust established for an underage beneficiary,

  • Expediting distribution of assets to beneficiaries following the individual’s death,

  • Ensuring that an appropriate person or institution serves as executor of the estate or as trustee of a trust,

  • Minimizing the costs of administration of an estate or a trust,

  • Avoiding or minimizing estate taxes and income taxes,

  • Providing for an appropriate disposition of life insurance proceeds,

  • Ensuring that the estate has sufficient liquid assets to provide for the payment of debts, expenses, and taxes,

  • Minimizing the risk of litigation over issues relating to the distribution of assets,

  • Blocking the application of legal requirements that impose undesirable burdens during the estate administration process, and

  • Ensuring that an individual’s business is transferred to successors in a manner that facilitates continuous, effective management of the business.

Arlington, Virginia, estate planning lawyer, James D. Fife, works collaboratively with individuals in defining their objectives and designing estate plans that meet their particular needs. Contact the Law Office of James D. Fife today to schedule an initial consultation.

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The Law Office of James D. Fife is an Arlington, Virginia, estate planning law firm that serves the Washington, D.C., area, including Fairfax, Alexandria, Falls Church, Vienna, and the surrounding communities of Northern Virginia. James D. Fife provides estate planning services for accountants, attorneys and other professionals, business owners, consultants, federal government employees, retirees, and other individuals.

Mr. Fife designs estate plans that facilitate proper management of a client’s assets during his or her lifetime and includes appropriate arrangements for distributing his or her assets upon death. The firm’s estate planning services help individuals avoid estate and gift taxes and minimize income taxes.

Mr. Fife’s business planning practice complements his estate planning practice. Mr. Fife uses his knowledge of business organizations in formulating estate plans for business owners that include appropriate provisions for transferring the ownership of businesses to chosen family members. He helps clients by structuring business organizations and agreements in ways that protect surviving family members against adverse estate tax consequences.

Mr. Fife is knowledgeable about a wide range of trusts and estate planning instruments, including:

James D. Fife is knowledgeable about planning techniques used to minimize estate and gift taxes. Those techniques include planning to use the annual exclusion, which allows an individual to avoid any estate and gift tax consequences when making gifts to a person during a year that does not exceed the annual exclusion amount for that year. The annual exclusion amount for 2019 is $15,000.00. A gift to a trust will not qualify for the annual exclusion unless the trust includes specialized provisions.

Mr. Fife’s services for clients include preparing trusts for family members that are designed specifically to receive gifts that qualify for the annual exclusion under current tax laws. Transferring funds to a trust for a child is normally preferable to transferring funds to a child directly if the child is young or immature.

In preparing wills and revocable living trusts, Mr. Fife typically includes language that provides for the creation of separate trusts for persons who are minors or are considered too young to manage property effectively. The inclusion of such provisions ensures that a trust will be available to manage property for a beneficiary if the beneficiary is a minor or is underage when he or she receives a gift of property under a will or revocable living trust.

Mr. Fife can explain the features of numerous trusts that are available for estate planning purposes, such as revocable living trusts, irrevocable life insurance trusts, and charitable trusts. Mr. Fife can also assist an individual in selecting a trust that is suitably designed to meet the specific needs of his or her family.

Mr. Fife can help business owners design and create arrangements that facilitate continuous and effective management of their businesses when the businesses are transferred to family members or other successors.

Arlington, Virginia, estate planning lawyer, James D. Fife, works collaboratively with individuals in defining their objectives and designing estate plans that meet their particular needs. Contact the Law Office of James D. Fife today to schedule an initial consultation.