Our Practice Areas

Estate Planning | Estate & Trust Administration | Elder Law | Special Needs Planning

Hyatt & Hanington estate planning practice areas: estate planning

Estate Planning

The essence of Estate Planning is taking the steps necessary to ensure that if you die, your property will pass to the people you want, the way you want.  It also includes making sure that if you are incapacitated, someone you trust will have the ability to manage your property and make medical decisions.

Any estate plan will require that you execute certain legal documents that will express your particular desires and carry them out.  Our attorneys are able to prepare all of the legal documents, specially designed for your particular needs and circumstances, necessary to achieve your objectives, including Wills, Powers of Attorney and a variety of Trusts, including both Testamentary Trusts and Revocable Living Trusts.

However, estate planning is more than just preparing a will and other legal documents.  In many instances, property will pass “outside” of the will or trust – by joint ownership or beneficiary designation.  Thus, in order for an estate plan to work the way it is intended, it also requires that you take steps to make sure your assets are titled the proper way, and that the beneficiary designations on your life insurance policies and retirement benefits (IRAs, 401(k)s, etc.) are properly written and filed, and that they are coordinated with your estate planning documents.

Our process is focused on learning about you and your goals and objectives, and providing the guidance and counseling that will enable us to prepare the necessary documents that will accomplish them.

Hyatt & Hanington estate planning practice areas: estate & trust administration

Estate & Trust Administration

Our office handles all matters related to the administration of an estate.  We work with you on probate matters – which are conducted through the Register of Wills – and involve all assets titled in the decedent’s name alone.  If the decedent had a Living Trust, we can help with the administration of the trust and trustee duties.  We can also advise you on matters related to joint accounts and beneficiary designated accounts.

The estate and trust administration practice areas can be a nuanced process that we are experienced in, from completing and submitting beneficiary forms, to filing the proper paperwork with the Register of Wills, to working with a client’s “team” of advisors, including financial advisors, CPA/accountants, and other consultants to settle an estate.

Hyatt & Hanington estate planning practice areas: elder law

Elder Law

The term “Elder Law” encompasses many issues that are frequently encountered by senior citizens.  Many of these issues are addressed by the typical estate plan, including wills, powers of attorney, and advance medical directives.  Often, the best planning for elderly clients can be accomplished by a properly designed Revocable Living Trust Plan.  Such a plan will ensure that as you age and need more assistance with the management of your assets, or if you become incapacitated, the person or persons of your choice will be able to assist you or act on your behalf.

Without the proper documents in place, you and your family members could find yourselves confronted with any number of roadblocks that would leave no alternative other than the necessity of pursuing guardianship proceedings.  Avoiding guardianship proceedings is probably the most important element of an estate plan, even more important than the common goal of avoiding probate.

Frequently, references to “Elder Law” practice areas are related to Medicaid Planning.  Such planning is designed to preserve the client’s assets for his or her heirs in the event the client needs to enter a nursing home, by qualifying for benefits under Medicaid.  Medicaid Planning is not part of our practice area at the Law Office of Hyatt & Hanington.  Our focus is on implementing plans that will enable the client’s assets and resources to be utilized for their care in their home – not in a nursing home.  In the rare cases where there is no alternative, and where Medicaid Planning is the best option, we can make a referral to an attorney who specializes in such planning.

Hyatt & Hanington estate planning practice areas: special needs planning

Special Needs Planning

When planning for an inheritance to be left to a beneficiary that has a disability or chronic illness, there are many factors to consider: is the beneficiary receiving aid or benefits that he or she may be disqualified from if he or she were to receive an inheritance?  Is there already a trust established for the beneficiary or does a new one need to be established?  Is it beneficial to leave a portion of retirement benefits to the beneficiary in trust?

Fortunately, there are trusts that can be established for a beneficiary with a disability to protect his or her inheritance while maintaining his or her current status for benefits.  Our office is familiar with the different types of trusts that can be created for a beneficiary with disabilities and what the benefits or consequences are of each.

Practice Areas | Hyatt & Hanington
Practice Areas | Hyatt & Hanington

Schedule A Complementary Consultation

Our Initial Estate Planning Consultation is designed to give you the opportunity to find out about our firm, our approach to estate planning, and to help you decide if our services fit your needs and objectives. It is also designed to give you all of the information you need in order to determine what planning is right for you and your family.

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