In order for the estate planning process to be effective, it must be comprehensive, which means that we need to learn a lot of information about you and your family, your desires and fears, your assets and liabilities, and more.

David Lanigan’s Estate Planning Experience

David Lanigan’s estate planning encompasses complex estates often worth millions of dollars and often consisting of family owned businesses, life insurance, Qualified Subchapter S Trusts, Electing Small Business Trusts, deferred compensation plans, minors’ trusts (to hold gifts from parents and grandparents), and charitable interests, exposure to creditors, multiple generations, generation-skipping transfers, IRA’s and other retirement plans, second marriages, unmarried couples, spendthrift children, non-U.S. citizenship, mental disabilities, and other complicating factors.

Mr. Lanigan has written a wide variety of wills, revocable living trusts, irrevocable life insurance trusts, asset protection trusts, living QTIP trusts, traditional split-dollar agreements; private split-dollar agreements, charitable remainder trusts, minors’ gift trusts, family limited partnership agreements, durable powers of attorney, designations of health care surrogates, shareholder buy/sell agreements, and other contracts to implement his clients’ estate plans.

What is Estate Planning?

1. Estate planning is a process by which a person or a couple:

a. considers all of their assets, liabilities, income, and expenses;

b. identifies one or more persons to serve as their surrogate for making health care decisions at any time that they cannot do so themselves;

c. identifies one or more persons to serve as their agent to manage their property at any time that they are unable to do so; identifies to whom they wants their property to go during life and after death (i.e., family members, charities, etc);

d. decides when these beneficiaries are to receive their property and in what amounts; arranges for management of assets in trust for one or more beneficiaries who are not old enough or informed enough or frugal enough to manage assets left to them by a parent, grandparent, or other ancestor;

e. analyzes how to avoid or at least minimize all taxes, both federal and state, that could be imposed upon their death or upon making a gift;

f. considers their own health and the health and abilities of every person on whom they rely to serve as personal representative (i.e., executor/executrix), trustee, surrogate, agent;

g. considers life insurance, whether to buy it or retain it, how to “own: it, how to fund the premium; whether to hold it in an irrevocable trust;

h. considers business entities they owns and how to value them and whether to retain or transfer control;

i. arranges their assets and liabilities so that a judgment creditor, if any, would have difficulty collecting on a judgment.

2. Implementing these decisions is done via several different types of documents, including;

a. A last will and testament;

b. A trust, either;

i. Revocable, to work with the will; or

ii. Irrevocable, to accomplish various goals;

c. A designation of health care surrogate;

d. A durable power of attorney;

e. A “living will”;

f. A HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) designation;

g. A pre-need designation of guardian;

h. perhaps a shareholders’ agreement or buy-out provisions in a limited liability company operating agreement;

i. perhaps a pre-marital agreement;

j. perhaps a domestic partner agreement, for an unmarried couple or a same sex couple.

What kinds of estate planning do I do?

1. Estate tax, gift tax, and generation-skipping transfer tax planning.

2. Wealth preservation planning.

3. Business succession planning.

4. Special needs trust designing, such as for a mentally retarded or otherwise disabled child or to account for potential need for Medicaid.

5. Unmarried couples and same sex couples planning.

6. Trusts for pets of my clients.

How the Estate Planning Process Works

Please contact us to request an estate planning questionnaire. When you receive it, please complete the estate planning questionnaire, sign it, copy it, and send the original to us. We will analyze it, identify concerns and goals, learn to whom you wish to leave your property and under what conditions and terms, and, during your initial appointment, propose to you general terms as to how you may achieve your goals.

In addition, when we have agreed on how to achieve your goals, I will send you an engagement agreement and request a fee retainer. After you have signed and returned the engagement agreement and deposited the fee retainer, I will prepare a draft of your documents and offer them to you for review. When the documents meet with your approval, you will sign them in accordance with legal requirements.

I keep a copy of the signed documents. I make a copy for you and put the originals into a distinctive estate plan record binder for your safe keeping and easy reference.

Why do I need to plan my estate?

In order to:

1. avoid or minimize discord among family members;

2. ensure that the people whom you designate receive your property and receive it in amounts you desire and when you want them to receive it;

3. avoid or minimize all taxes that could be imposed upon your death and upon making gifts;

4. coordinate disposition of your assets via non-probate means with a will and maybe a trust;

5. account for homestead characteristics;

6. plan for your retirement;

7. provide liquidity for your estate after your death;

8. provide supplemental benefits for a disabled child who receives or in the future probably will receive governmental support;

9. favor one or more charities.

Why do I need a will and perhaps also a revocable living trust?

In order to:

1. direct the distribution of your assets for the benefit of beneficiaries whom you designate;

2. designate the person or persons whom you would like to serve as guardians of your children, in the event you (and your spouse, if any) die while your children are minors;

3. designate your personal representative (i.e., executor or executrix) of your probate estate;

4. establish your plan to avoid or minimize estate taxes and effectuate your estate tax plan;

5. allocate the burden of paying any estate taxes or generation-skipping transfer taxes that arise because of your death;

6. minimize the likelihood of family conflict over your property.

If I have a will, can I avoid probate?

No, a will works in and through the probate process.

If I plan to give property to a grandchild, what would I need to consider?

You would need to know the value of the property that you intend to give. If you intend to give cash, its value is easy to determine. If property other than cash, then you should have it appraised. This is especially true of an ownership interest in a business.

Also, you would need to consider gift taxes and generation-skipping transfer taxes, too, so that you could avoid incurring taxes that are possible to avoid. Furthermore, you would need to consider whether to hold the transferred property in a trust of some kind and the terms of such a trust.