FAQs
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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why do I need a Will?

a. Having a properly prepared and executed Will allows you, instead of a court, to determine who gets your assets after you die. Without a Will to provide such guidance, a court will follow what are known as intestacy laws, which can vary quite a bit from state to state and which may not conform to the wishes of you or your heirs. Everything from your bank account to your house to the guardianship of your minor children can be covered in a Will. A Will can also work in conjunction with a Trust to distribute your assets in a tax-favorable manner.
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2. What is a Trust?

a. A Trust is a legal entity that holds and distributes assets for the benefit of people, such as yourself or your children, or other entities, such as charitable organizations or the Trust of another. Trusts can be either “inter vivos,” which are set up during your lifetime, or “testamentary,” which are set up by operation of your Will. A revocable Trust is one which can be revoked after it has been established, while an irrevocable Trust is one which cannot be revoked. The decision of which type of Trust is best for you is one that is dependent on your particular circumstances and financial goals. One benefit of all Trusts is that they keep your estate, at least the portion placed in the Trust, out of the probate process. This can result in better control and protection of your assets following your death, as well as more favorable tax treatment and lowered estate expenses for many people.
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3. Why do I need an estate planning lawyer?

a. Because you won’t be around to express your opinion while your estate is being settled. Wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and estates in general are governed by strict and technical rules that vary from state to state. These rules exist so that courts will never be in the position of second-guessing your intentions or substituting their judgment for that of your own or those who survive you. Unfortunately for the unprepared or mis-prepared, this may produce results that are more expensive or not in line with your desires.
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4. What is a conservation easement? Why would I grant one?

a. A conservation easement is an agreement between a landowner (the grantor) and a government agency or qualified land protection organization (the grantee) that forever limits the use of the land in order to protect its conservation value, generally as open space. The grantor is then allowed a federal income tax deduction for the value of the conservation easement, as well as possible estate and property tax relief, depending on the state. While the land will be restricted in terms of use and development, it continues to be owned by the grantor, who can sell, give or lease the land just as before. Of course, any such conveyance would be made subject to the conservation easement.
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5. How do I decide what type of business entity best suits my needs?

a. As with so many other things, the decision of which entity is best depends on the type of business you wish to engage in, the parties with whom you plan to work, your goals and business plan and other circumstances. General partnerships, limited partnerships, limited liability companies, corporations, and other legal entities each come with their own formation requirements, degrees of liability and asset protection, tax treatments, and so on. These characteristics and requirements vary from state to state.
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6. Why is an LLC such a popular choice for owning real estate?

a. A limited liability company (LLC) is one of the most popular choices of entities to own and hold commercial real estate. LLC’s provide liability protection for managers and members, flow-through tax treatment on profits and losses, and ease of transferability of membership interests with minimal tax consequences, among other things.
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