Delaware Estate Planning Attorneys|Procino-Wells & Woodland Seaford Lewes Wills Trust Powers of Attorney Advanced Health Care Directive Living Wills Medical Directive

Seaford
302.628.4140

Lewes
302.703.6993


Planning today to protect your family's tomorrow.

Page Title
Areas of Practice:

Elder Law

Asset Protection Planning

Estate Planning

Estate & Trust Administration


Wills
A Will is a legal document that contains your wishes for how your assets will be distributed upon your death.  Additionally, it allows you to nominate an executor, which is the person who will carry out those written wishes.  For parents of minor children, a guardian can also be nominated.  At Procino-Wells & Woodland, LLC, we will use our experience in drafting estate plans to help you understand this process and give you a Will that best suits your needs. Not only will we ensure that everything is laid out according to your desires, but we’ll also be here for you if you need us in the future.
Why You Need a Will
Trusts
Although there are many kinds of trusts, one of the most common is a Living Trust, set up while a person is still alive. These can be either revocable or irrevocable.  Irrevocable Trusts remove the assets from your possession and contain provisions that do not typically enable you to make changes to the provisions of the Trust.
 
Revocable Trusts, however, are essentially a substitute for a Will, acting as an effective way to transfer your assets upon your death in accordance with your desires. The Revocable Trust also avoids probate and will help to protect the privacy of you and your loved ones. Overall, creating and funding a Revocable Trust during your lifetime reduces the costs of administration upon your death; decreases delays in distribution; and maintains privacy.
 
Probate is an expensive and lengthy legal process that takes place after someone dies. It involves 1) proving the validity of a deceased person’s Will to the Register of Wills, 2) overseeing the estate administration process by way of an executor or an administrator, 3) identifying and inventorying the deceased person's assets, 4) having the property appraised, 5) paying debts, fees, and taxes, and 6) distributing the remaining property as the Will or State law directs. The probate process rarely benefits your beneficiaries, and therefore Procino-Wells & Woodland, LLC recommends avoiding it by way of a Revocable Living Trust and possibly other techniques which vary based on your circumstances.
Powers of Attorney
Procino-Wells & Woodland, LLC is devoted to preparing comprehensive estate plans. As such, a Power of Attorney is typically created to allow an individual (called the "principal") to appoint another individual or entity (called an "agent" or "attorney-in-fact") to act on behalf of the principal. Powers of Attorneys commonly allow the agent to complete financial transactions, including real estate transactions, on the principal's behalf when the principal is unavailable, incapacitated, or disabled. When creating a Power of Attorney, the principal is able to decide if he/she would like the agent to have the power to act as an agent immediately, or upon disability, and therefore requiring a doctor to declare him/her unable to make decisions. Without a properly executed Power of Attorney, a guardianship proceeding may result upon incapacity or disability, which is much more expensive and cumbersome than creating a Power of Attorney in advance.
Advance Health Care Directives
With the advance of medical care, it is best to clarify under legal counsel whether or not you would like to prolong your life in the case of terminal illness or permanent unconsciousness. This is done so with an Advance Health Care Directive. Advance Health Care Directives act as a way to collect all of your imperative medical information and make it readily available when addressing a hospital or other healthcare facility. This directive is used when the patient is unable to communicate with the healthcare provider himself/herself.  It does three things: 1) It allows you to make your own end-of-life healthcare decisions in advance.  This is often referred to as a Living Will.  2) It allows you to be specific about any anatomical gifts you wish to make at your death, including organ donations for any purpose authorized by law.  3) It allows you to nominate a medical agent to make health-related decisions for you if you become incapacitated and are unable to make those decisions for yourself.
Asset Protection Trusts
When set up and used properly, an Asset Protection Trust allows you to transfer assets to the Trust and shelter those assets from the costs of extend long-term care.  Under current law, once you create the Trust, transfer assets to it, and five (5) years pass from the date of transfer, the transferred assets are no longer counted as resources available to you when applying for government benefits.  This means that the transferred assets would not have to be spent down to pay for your long term care.
 
Asset Protection Trusts are irrevocable, meaning once they are created they cannot be changed (with some exceptions) or revoked.  Thus, it is extremely important that you fully understand this sophisticated estate planning tool before signing it.  Someone other than the maker of the Trust must serve as trustee and manage the Trust and the assets it owns.  This type of irrevocable trust can pay income out to the maker, but only income.  Principal should never be paid out of the Trust to the person who created it.
IRA Inheritance Trusts
IRA Inheritance Trusts are established during life and are designed to receive a qualified retirement account at the owner’s death.  By naming an IRA Inheritance Trust as the beneficiary of your retirement account (as opposed to naming an individual), it helps “stretchout” the required minimum distributions over the beneficiaries’ lifetimes.  By taking advantage of this “stretchout” and lengthening the income tax deferral, you are enhancing the future wealth accumulation for your beneficiaries.  The IRA Inheritance Trust is also designed to protect your beneficiaries’ inheritance.  It allows you to have more control over who will receive your IRA after your death because there is better protection against spendthrift habits, poor money management skills, and against a beneficiary’s spouse taking some of your IRA.
Estate Planning Process Flow
Once you have commited to our services, the Procino-Wells & Woodland team follows a comprehensive procedure to create your Estate Plan.  Each step is designed to accomplish your unique goals.  Click below for an illustration and overview of the process.
Estate Planning Process Flow Chart
Estate Plan Maintenance Program
You have invested both time and money to have a thorough estate plan created.  Unfortunately, many factors can bring about reasons to change your perfect plan, no matter how much forethought you put behind your documents upon their creation.
It is likely that your preparations will not accomplish everything you desire if you do not reflect changes that occur over time.  Additionally, assets sometimes do not get properly funded into the Trust.  This can end up causing an unnecessary probate proceeding if not remedied prior to passing away.
An integral part of ensuring that your estate plan serves its purpose is your commitment to keeping it up-to-date.  For this reason, the Estate Plan Maintenance Program offers peace of mind so you can rest assured that your documents are being reviewed regularly and your final wishes are carried out properly.

Reasons for Updating
  • There is a change in the law
  • You have a change in your marital status
  • You have a change in your health
  • You acquire new assets
  • The birth of a child, grandchild or other person you want to benefit
  • The marriage or divorce of a designated beneficiary
  • The disability of an intended beneficiary
  • The death of a designated beneficiary under your estate plan
  • A beneficiary shows signs of being financially irresponsible
  • You want to make a change to the persons in charge, such as your Trustees, Executors or Agents