Estate Planning

Jones, Wolf & Kapasi, LLC offers a full service Estate Planning practice. We represent domestic and international clients who recognize the value of an integrated wealth preservation strategy involving comprehensive estate planning. Our focus is on providing high-quality guidance and efficient representation to help ensure that our clients' success carries on into the next generation.


An estate plan is the orderly disposition of one's probate and non-probate assets in accordance with an individual's wishes and desires. An estate plan includes not only the preparation of a Last Will and Testament, but may include a Power of Attorney, Living Will, Advance Health Care Directives, Irrevocable Insurance Trust or more sophisticated documents, as well as analysis of assets ownership and tax consequences.

Why Plan Your Estate?
If you postpone planning for your demise until it is too late, you run the risk that your intended beneficiaries may not receive what you would want them to receive whether due to extra administration costs, unnecessary taxes or squabbling among your heirs.

Estate planning is important, no matter how small your estate may be. It allows you, while you are still living, to ensure that your property will go to the people you want, in the way you want, and when you want. It permits you to save as much as possible on taxes, court costs and attorneys' fees; and it affords the comfort that your loved ones can mourn your loss without being simultaneously burdened with unnecessary red tape and financial confusion.


A Will is a legal document which allows you to determine who receives your assets, and when, or in what manner the beneficiaries may receive their share.  A Will also permits you to choose fiduciaries such as Executors (who will manage the estate), Trustees (who will manage the trust under your Will) and, in the event there are minor children, who shall serve as their Guardian.  Without a Will the State will determine who receives your assets based on State law (the laws of intestacy).  In addition, without a Will the Surrogate’s Court, based on the law, will appoint the Guardian of your minor children and the Administrator of your estate.


Advance Directives for Health Care
A living will (also known as an advance medical directive) is a statement of your wishes for the kind of life-sustaining medical intervention you want, or don't want, in the event that you become terminally ill and unable to communicate.

All adults have the fundamental right to control their own medical care, including the decision to utilize or terminate artificial, extraordinary or heroic medical treatment that only prolong the process of dying.  This right is normally exercised by competent patients giving (or withholding) consent for treatment when such treatment is proposed by their physicians or the facility in which they are living.


No one is immune from aging or the loss of mental clarity that may come with it. And you're never immune to health crises that may leave you unable to handle the business of your life: paying bills, managing investments, or making key financial decisions.

There are different kinds of powers of attorney, but in estate planning there are two essential types you should know:

  • The first is the "springing power of attorney," which only goes into effect under circumstances that you specify, the most typical being when you become incapacitated.

Often that means your agent cannot act until he or she provides doctors' letters and sometimes court orders to prove you are incapable of making decisions for yourself.

  • There is also the "durable power of attorney." It is effective immediately, and your agent does not need to prove your incapacity in order to sign your name.
    When properly drafted, a durable power of attorney may eliminate the need for any costly future court proceedings to declare the principal incapacitated.


What is A Trust?
A Trust is an entity created to hold assets for the benefit of certain persons or entities, with a trustee managing the trust (and often holding title on behalf of the trust). Most trusts are founded by the persons (called trustors, settlors and/or donors) who execute a written Declaration of Trust which establishes the trust and spells out the terms and conditions upon which it will be conducted. The Declaration also names the original trustee or trustees, successor trustees, or means to choose future trustees. The assets of the trust are usually given to the trust by the creators, although assets may be added by others. During the life of the trust, profits and, sometimes, a portion of the principal (called "corpus") may be distributed to the beneficiaries, and at some time in the future (such as the death of the last trustor or settlor) the remaining assets will be distributed to beneficiaries.

There are numerous types of trusts, including revocable trusts created to handle the trustors' assets (with the trustor acting as initial trustee), often called a "living trust" (or "inter vivos trust") which only becomes irrevocable on the death of the first trustor; "irrevocable trust" which cannot be changed at any time, "charitable remainder unitrust" which provides for eventual guaranteed distribution of the corpus (assets) to charity, thus gaining a substantial tax benefit. There are also court-decreed "constructive" and "resulting" trusts over property held by someone for its owner. A "testamentary trust" can be created by a will to manage assets given to beneficiaries.

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