Helping You Provide For Your Loved Ones

When people have worked hard to provide for their families, it can be difficult to begin considering a time when they will not be there to help their loved ones. Building an effective estate plan allows you to still take care of your family even after you are gone.

The most immediate challenge facing families in the 21st Century is the incapacity of primary wage earners, care givers, and aging parents and disabled children. Proper planning can avoid the needless expense and emotional agony of court proceedings to establish guardianships and conservatorships after a disabling event has occurred.

Some of the goals our lawyers are able to accomplish for our clients with effective estate planning include:

  • Advance medical directives and health care powers of attorney — Without these in place you are at the mercy of the health care and social services systems in the event of an adult disability.
  • General durable power of attorney — No matter how long a marriage has lasted, in Virginia there is no automatic right of a spouse to do business or even sign the name of a disabled spouse.
  • Minors turning 18 — When your child turns 18, you are no longer to make medical and financial decisions for your child. Health-care powers of attorneys and general durable powers of attorney give you this authority.
  • Preservation of assets — No one wants to see the fruits of his or her labor being wasted through poor estate planning.
  • Providing clarity A well-laid-out estate plan can clearly communicate your wishes regarding your estate to your heirs, thereby minimizing the potential for conflict.
  • Minimizing taxes A proper estate plan can ensure that your assets are not subject to unnecessary tax burdens.
  • Avoiding probate We can assist with all facets of probate, which is a complex process in Virginia and requires careful attention to detail and the many laws and rules governing that practice. We can also discuss with you the many ways of estate planning to minimize the expense and delay associated with the probate process.
  • Transfer of ownership interests in a business For business owners seeking to pass their business to the next generation or another loved one, your business succession goals can be accomplished as part of your estate plan. Our business experience allows us to offer highly effective business succession planning services.

Dedicated To Achieving Your Estate Planning Goals

At Miller, Earle & Shanks, PLLC, we are dedicated to helping our clients by providing the counsel they need. Our extensive experience allows us to craft estate plans that meet all of our clients' needs. We begin every estate plan by working closely with each client to come to an understanding of his or her goals and his or her circumstances. We then suggest the most effective options and build an estate plan according to our clients' wishes using such estate planning devices as:

  • Wills
  • Trusts
  • Powers of attorney
  • Advance medical power of attorneys and health care directives

Estate and Trust Administration

Estate and trust administration are the legal processes of executing the directives of a Will or if no Will, Virginia laws, or a trust, after the death of an individual, which can be a confusing and complicated process. We can assist vou with settling the estate including: helping you determine if you need to qualify as Executor or Administrator of the Estate, and guiding you through the probate which includes collecting assets, paying creditors, selling real and personal property and filing inventories and annual accountings.

Guardianship and Conservatorship

If an adult is no longer competent to make their own decisions (often due to disabilities such as Dementia/Alzheimer’s) and they have not executed an Advance medical directive and Health-care power of attorney and a Durable power of attorney, it may be necessary to file a petition with the Circuit Court seeking appointment of an individual as their Guardian and/or Conservator. A court-appointed Guardian has the legal authority to make health care decisions, including where the incapacitated person will live or be cared for. A court-appointed Conservator has the legal authority to manage the incapacitated person’s financial assets. In order to avoid the cost of litigation, it is recommended that individuals execute an Advance medical directive and Health-care power of attorney and a Durable power of attorney while they are competent. If an individual has not executed those documents, we can assist you with filing for Guardianship and/or Conservatorship. If you are the parent of a disabled minor child, we can assist you with filing for Guardianship and/or Conservators six months before the child’s 18th birthday so you can continue to assist them once they are an adult. We can also assist you once you are appointed with preparing all required accountings.

Estate Planning, -Estate and Trust Administration, and Guardianship and Conservatorship Attorneys In Harrisonburg, Luray And Front Royal

When you decide it is time to plan for your estate, administer and estate or trust, or file for guardianship and/or conservatorship, we can offer the advice and service you need to make sure all of your goals are achieved. To schedule an initial consultation with one of our experienced attorneys, call 540-564-1555, or contact us online.

Miller, Earle & Shanks, PLLC, offers free 30-minute consultations for all active and reserve military personnel. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation.