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Estate Planning and Probate
Your Louisville KY Estate Planning Attorneys at Karem & Kleier Law are commited to providing you the very best legal counsel and planning techniques.
We are passionate about providing exceptional client service, service that goes beyond what is typically expected and received. We take the time to help our clients understand difficult concepts, we’re patient and we guide our clients through each phase of their matter.
Louisville's Top Estate Planning Attorneys
Reaching the Stars For Our Clients
Planning for your family’s future is one of the most important gifts you can offer them. Whether your plans relate to finances, the care of your children, or future health decisions, a clear and concise plan will save your family great heartache and confusion down the road.
It is critical to the success of any estate plan that it be prepared by an experienced and knowledgeable attorney who listens to your wishes and needs. We understand the process can be an emotional one and are sensitive to the stress it can cause for clients. We walk you through the process step by step in order to minimize any negative emotions or stress you may experience and to ensure the end result is a comprehensive, clear plan which will prevent any issues amongst your family in the future.
It doesn’t matter what stage of life you’re in, your family will always need some estate planning.
Everyone has an estate. Your estate consists of everything you own— your home, real estate, furniture, personal property, vehicles, checking and savings accounts, brokerage accounts, life insurance, and retirement accounts.
Being prepared and controlling how and to whom your estate is given when you die or become incapacitated is something all adults need to do. To ensure your wishes are carried out the way you want you need to provide a set of written instructions. This is estate planning—making a plan in advance and naming whom you want to receive the things you own after you die. However, good estate planning includes much more than a basic will.
Living Will and Advanced Directive or Last Will and Testament
A Living Will and Advanced Directive are legal documents that provide instructions as to your end of life medical care in the event you become seriously ill or incapacitated and you are unable to communicate your preferences yourself. For example, a living will can set forth your desires when it comes to receiving life-sustaining medical care or breathing tubes.
A Last Will and Testament is a legal document that typically provides instructions on what should happen to your assets in the event of your death. A Last Will primarily comes to be used when it is necessary for the Court to be involved in a person’s estate.
With or without a Last Will, the Court has a deliberate process which must be followed. This includes notification to a decedent’s heirs, creditors, and possibly, other family members. Additionally, distributions must be made in a particular order regardless of the contents or instructions of a Last Will.
In a Last Will, you nominate a person to the Court to serve as the personal representative, or legal representative of the estate. It is also used to nominate Guardians for your minor children.
Revocable Trust or Irrevocable Trust
Both a will and a trust allows you to allocate your assets after you die. For example, you can choose who you leave your money and home to. You can also choose who will be the guardian of your children, etc.
In an Irrevocable Trust, you, the grantor, put your money into a trust and by doing so give up your ownership to the assets. Once you have done this, the money in the irrevocable trust is no longer considered a part of your estate.
Benefits of Irrevocable Trust
- Protection Against Creditors
- Charitable Giving
- Avoid Capital Gains Taxes
- Avoid Estate Taxes
- Protection From Nursing Home
A Revocable Trust is a trust that can be altered at any time by the owner (the grantor) of the trust. That means that you, the grantor, still have full control over the trust while you are alive and are free to change the assets and the beneficiaries. It is only after you die that the revocable trust becomes an irrevocable trust and it can no longer be changed.
Benefits of a Revocable Trust
While you may not have the same tax benefits as an irrevocable trust, there are still some major benefits to having a revocable trust. The main reason why many people prefer to have a revocable trust is you maintain control of your assets. You can still access your money whenever you want it and make changes as you wish.
Guardianship or Conservatorship
Guardianship provides for the care of someone who is not able to care for himself or herself. The court may appoint a guardian if there is evidence that the person is incapacitated and that he or she requires continuing care or supervision. The individual who is being watched over on behalf of the court through the guardian is called the “ward.” Guardianship has to do with the management of the life actions and needs of the ward or protected person.
A Conservator is an individual or corporation appointed by a court to manage the estate, property, and/or other business affairs of an individual whom the court has determined is unable to do so for himself or herself. The individual who is being protected is called the “protected person.” Conservatorship has to do with the management of things that the ward or protected person owns or has had control over.
Estate Litigation or Probate Litigation
At Karem & Kleier Law, we use sophisticated defensive planning techniques to avoid litigation for our clients. However, we also understand that litigation may, in many cases, be unavoidable. We have extensive experience in the courtroom and if litigation is necessary we will fight for you to prevail. Most importantly we will communicate with you throughout the process to make sure that you understand the best manner in which to move forward. In all cases, our primary goal is always to achieve the best possible result for our clients, and in many cases, we can favorably settle our clients’ disputes without the need for a trial.
Estate litigation can be time-consuming, expensive, and emotionally challenging. The issues litigated often involve complex legal questions combined with long-standing family problems. We are thoroughly familiar with the demands of litigation and also have a large reservoir of experience to draw from when attempting to resolve disputes out of court.
On occasion, the parties to litigation are interested in mediation as an alternative to trial. Mediation involves the selection of a neutral mediator to facilitate negotiations between the parties to a dispute. In many cases, mediation can be used to keep disputes among family members out of court. Our attorneys have experience representing clients in mediation and appreciate the benefit of this process.
Power of Attorney
A Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows a principal to appoint an agent to act for them should they become incapacitated. The agent is expected to place the principal’s interests ahead of his or her own, which is why it is important for you and your loved one to pick a trusted individual. There are multiple types of decisions that the agent can be given the power to make, including the power to:
- Make financial decisions;
- Make gifts of money;
- Make healthcare decisions, including the ability to consent to giving, withholding, or stopping medical treatments, services, or diagnostic procedures. (Note: your loved one can also make a separate “health care power of attorney” to give only this power to another individual.); and
- Recommend a guardian