Tag Archives: Virginia estate planning attorney

So You Just Won the Lottery…Now What?

So You Just Won the Lottery…Now What?

So You Just Won the Lottery…Now What?
NOVA Estate Lawyers – Leesburg, VA

You may have heard people say, “If you win the lottery, one of the first things you should do is contact a lawyer.” Well it’s true. But not just for the lottery. Any time you come into a windfall, whether through winnings like the lottery or an inheritance, it is a good idea to double check with an attorney regarding your options, legal rights, and responsibilities. Any income needs to be properly saved, spent, and even preserved to pay taxes.

Hold Off on Spending
First, resist the temptation to rush out and buy a house, car, vacation, or even waste the money with out-of-control spending. Of course, you’ll want to have a little bit of fun with the money, so a small splurge is okay. However, you’d be better served doing a financial review first with a certified financial planner and considering a trust plan with an experienced estate planning attorney.

Decide if it’s prudent to pay off some debts now or not; set-up investment accounts or not; write a revocable or irrevocable trust; invest in real estate, etc. in order to preserve, grow, and make the most of your winnings for yourself and your heirs. Having a plan from the get-go may allow you to have your winnings last throughout your lifetime or the lifetimes of your loved ones as well.

Understand the Tax Requirements
You’ll need to consider any possible taxes that come in the form of final income, gift, death or inheritance taxes as well as any applicable tax credits or exemptions, and even FDIC insurance for accounts holding your winnings. At present, Virginia does not impose either a death or inheritance tax. However, the latter is based on where your beneficiaries reside, so, if your beneficiaries live in another state which has an inheritance tax, they could be liable for inheritance taxes for what you leave to them depending on the plan you implement.

Create a Will or Trust
Virginia, just like all states, has laws governing estate and trust planning, probate, and inheritance. This is why it is so important to consult with a local attorney where you live and draw up a will or trust in order to properly designate the distribution of your assets following your death as well as legally avoid certain taxes and other costs which might reduce what you are able to leave to your beneficiaries. A good estate planning lawyer can help you feel confident that your plan addresses all these issues and implement it for you.

Develop an Estate Plan
Finally, when thinking about your overall estate plan, consider whether you might want to leave a legacy that benefits more than your family members, such as an endowment, foundation, or charitable donation made in your name and memory. An estate planning attorney can help you customize a plan that fits your specific needs and address any unique issues for your heirs, such as special-needs or spendthrift trust planning for children with drug addiction, money, mental health or other issues who might not readily be in a position to handle receiving a direct inheritance from you, or a trust plan based on the relative age of a child or grandchild, focusing on funding education first before direct distributions of cash to that child or grandchild are made.

No matter what type of inheritance or winnings you acquire, it is always best to seek the advice of an estate attorney before doing anything. You certainly don’t want to make a big, expensive mistake simply because you didn’t know your options.

For advice and counsel on what to do when you have acquired a large amount of money, contact attorneys Patricia Tichenor or Camellia Safi at the Law Office of Patricia E. Tichenor, P.L.L.C. located in Leesburg, Virginia. Contact us today to set your appointment.

You May Want to Consider Holding Power of Attorney for Your Adult Child

You May Want to Consider Holding Power of Attorney for Your Adult Child

You May Want to Consider Holding Power of Attorney for Your Adult Child
NOVA Estate Lawyers – Leesburg

Your child is always your child, except in the eyes of the law where an 18 year old is considered to be legal adults. However, as many parents know, at this age, or even beyond, many children are still not ready to be on their own and may need your input or assistance in major life decisions or managing finances. Even though they may be off to college, or entering military service, and you still may be paying their way, you may not have any say in their affairs should something happen and they need your help.

At age 18, children are also deemed emancipated for HIPAA purposes. This means that their privacy is protected under the law—even from their parents—unless they have a medical directive or medical power of attorney in place.

If an unfortunate circumstance should occur, as for example, your child was injured in campus violence incident or had a serious car accident, you, as parents, would have no access to health-related records, or would not be able to make decisions on their behalf if needed, unlike when they were minor children. With the increase of gun violence on campuses and distracted driving, pre-determining a plan might just help put your mind to rest, and offer protection for all parties.

Every 18-year-old needs these two essential documents

That is why we at the Law Office of Patricia E. Tichenor P.L.L.C. highly recommend creating two essential estate planning documents: a durable general power of attorney (for financial matters) and a durable medical power of attorney (for health-related matters). Encourage your child to put one in place after they turn 18, so they can ensure that you will be able to make decisions as to your child’s finances and health care in the event they are unable to do so themselves. Doing so will avoid the greater expense, stress and delay, if they are not in place, of seeking those rights for your child through a guardianship or conservatorship proceeding in the courts. Even though you most often hear about these two documents for older people, they should be considered for younger folks as well.

A financial power of attorney can be customized to your child’s needs, general (covering all financial matters) or specific (relating to just one aspect of the adult child’s finances). Your child can appoint these responsibilities as well to different family members or trusted advisors as alternates or successors to you.

A power of attorney can be useful in other ways too, such as if your child is traveling abroad and requires money wired from the adult child’s bank account, or needs to have legal documents like a lease signed in the child’s absence. The small fee you pay to set up proper powers of attorney will be well worth it in the end.

Contact your estate planning attorney

At the Law Office of Patricia E. Tichenor, P.L.L.C., we are specialists in estate planning and can help you protect your family members. Please call to set an appointment at our convenient Northern Virginia office with either Patricia Tichenor or Camellia Safi, attorneys at law.

Avoid the Common Pitfalls of Estate Planning

The Law Office of Patricia E. Tichenor, P.L.L.C Virginia

Avoid Common Pitfalls of Estate Planning
NOVA Estate Lawyers – Leesburg, Virginia

Surprisingly, even well-educated Virginians can err when it comes to planning their estates. No matter what one’s financial situation is, there are elements to a solid estate plan that need to be set in place that often get overlooked.

Here are some of the common pitfalls of estate planning:

1. No Will. Without a will, assets are distributed in accordance with state law. This can result in unintended allocations. Having a will gives you the opportunity to decide who gets what and when assets are distributed.

In addition, you should try to avoid the one-size-fits-all estate planning documents so often found via the Internet. They often fail to take into account the unique facts and circumstances of your life. What’s more, because Virginia law contains several nuanced requirements, these computer-generated documents might end up being invalid.

2. Life Insurance Proceeds Not Transferred. Life insurance proceeds can affect estate taxes. If an insured person owns their insurance proceeds at death, the proceeds become part of the estate and are, therefore, taxable. However, an insured person can transfer ownership of their life insurance proceeds before death through a trust, for example, thereby minimizing estate tax liability.

3. Not Using Gift Exclusions. Several available gift exclusions are provided in the Tax Code, where you can gift portions of your estate to others prior to your death without tax penalties. Giving gifts can be an effective and fulfilling way to decrease future estate tax liability.

4. Naming the Wrong Executor. The person you assign to handle your estate upon your death can be demanding. Be sure your executor is up to the job.

5. Not Planning Ahead. It is important to start planning as soon as possible, although it is never too late to create an estate plan. An estate plan provides the opportunity to plan your healthcare wishes and create financial strategies for a number of different situations.

6. Not Updating Your Estate Plan. If circumstances change in your life, you should revise your estate plan accordingly. Failing to do so could result in problems transferring your estate down the line.

At the Law Office of Patricia E. Tichenor, P.L.L.C., we are specialists in   estate planning procedures and can help you draft and solidify your plan for a secure and rewarding future. Please call (703) 669-6700 to schedule an appointment with either Patricia Tichenor or Camellia Safi, attorneys at law.

The Law Office of Patricia E. Tichenor, P.L.L.C.
Professional Legal Services or Legal Representation
(703) 669-6700