Areas of Practice
What is a "will"? A will is a legally binding document that tells the reader exactly how you want your assets distributed after your death. The purpose of the will is to indicate to the court the manner in which your client wants his or her estate handled. It can be changed by you at any moment and is private. Nobody has to see the your will until you have died.
A “trust” is a method of holding title to an asset (like a house or bank account) that is established when a person(called a "grantor") transfers possession of the asset to another person (called a trustee) together with instructions on how to hold, manage, and distribute the asset. Trusts can range from very simplistic to extremely complex. Therefore a trust is can very useful tool in planning for high worth estates and is flexible enough to accommodate a variety of circumstances and distribution plans.
POWER OF ATTORNEY FOR PROPERTY
A "power of attorney for property" is a legal document that lets you designate someone to handle financial and legal matters on your behalf. The person authorizing the other to act on their behalf is referred to as the principal, grantor, or donor. The person authorized to act is the agent or attorney-in-fact. With a power of attorney, the person you appoint will be legally permitted to take care of important matters for you, including paying your bills and managing your investments, if you are unable to do so for yourself. A durable power of attorney serves the same function as a power of attorney, however, a durable power of attorney is effective even if you become incapacitated.
“Probate” is a legal procedure for managing a deceased person’s assets/debts/property. A probate action is filed in court in order to empower an administrator or executor in the position to legally manage the deceased estate. There are a number of assets that are not subject to probate, such as property held in joint tenancy , life insurance, retirement benefits, and trust assets. If the deceased’s estate consists mainly of these types of assets, probate may not be necessary.
Guardianship is when a judge chooses a person to take care of another person with a disability. The disability has to prevent the person from being able to make basic life decisions or managing their own property/money. Disabilities can include:
- Mental decline as a result of aging
- Mental illness
- Developmental disability
- Physical impairments
- Trouble controlling behavior that puts one's self and family at risk of harm
The purchase or sale of a home is the most expensive single purchase people make in their lives and so they should be represented by counsel. Real estate contracts have become more complex. State-mandated disclosure requirements must be reviewed since they are the foundation of the contract and carry with them various obligations and potential liabilities. Utilizing the attorney approval provisions found in most contracts, the attorney can properly outline your understanding of the transaction. Additionally by maintaining time limits for inspections, financing, notices, and other contingencies, the attorney can protect the client’s rights during the contract phase.
Was the estate administered properly by the executor/administrator? Was the will valid? Was the will or trust changed under suspect circumstances? Was the money management in the trust done properly? Are assets being handled properly by the Guardian? Is someone being exploited or taken advantage of? Has there been mismanagement or theft of money Has the trustee breached his fiduciary responsibility by mismanaging the Trust? Who is in control of the assets and how are those assets being handled? Tokarz Law can help you answer these questions.
POWER OF ATTORNEY FOR HEALTHCARE
The Power of Attorney for Healthcare is a document in which you name someone to be your representative, or agent, in the event you are unable to make or communicate decisions about your health care. A healthcare representative/agent is a person whom you are trusting to make medical decisions on your behalf if you can't make them for yourself. It is a more powerful document than a "living will" which protects an individual’s right to make medical decisions when the individual is unable to communicate decisions and is terminally ill. A "living will" will not help if you are only temporarily unconscious or otherwise unable to communicate, but are not terminally ill, in a permanent vegetative state, or other end-stage condition. .
Estate Planning is the process of forecasting and positioning, during a person's life, for the management and disposal of that person's estate during the person's life and at and after death, while minimizing gift, income, estate, and generation skipping transfer(GST) taxes. A proper estate plan depends on many factors, including marital status, age, family, value of assets, the way the assets are held, whom the intended beneficiary is, healthcare wishes, etc. Ideally an estate plan that will distribute the client’s estate in the most economical manner while still achieving the desired distribution.