AREAS OF PRACTICE
Areas of practice include but is not limited to Estate Planning, Guardianship, Long Term Care Planning, Probate, Trust Administration, Special Needs Planning and Trusts and more
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Estate planning is for everyone, but there is no “one size fits all”. Every situation is dynamic just like you and your family.
A good estate plan should consider both the inevitability of death and the possibility of disability and should make the subsequent management of your financial and personal affairs easy for your loved ones. It should provide peace of mind about what happens to your assets upon your death and ensure that your wishes are followed.
We will assist you by considering and addressing the technical aspects of your situation while explaining and utilizing documents that make sense for you and your family.
There are five main items that would typically be considered in creating an estate plan. Those may include a Durable Power of Attorney, Health Care Directive (also known as “Living Will”), Community Property Agreement, Last Will, and Trust.
Guardianship for Adults:
Guardianship is a legal process where a court appoints a guardian for a person who is unable to make their own decisions for personal or financial management, or both. Guardianship can be inevitable when there is no other lesser restrictive alternative, such as a power of attorney in place, or upon attainment of majority of a young person who is not able to sign a Power of Attorney. It can also be an effective option for a person who is unable to manage their own care or finances, who may be a victim of exploitation. Once a Guardian is appointed, which typically takes a minimum of 60 days, the court will continue to monitor the guardian, ensuring protection for the incapacitated person. The process of appointing a guardian can be simple but can also be complex, especially if it is contested. Our team will assist the Guardian with all aspects of guardianship, from deciding whether guardianship is necessary to the court appointment process to ongoing representation once appointed.
Guardianship for Minor children:
Guardianship of a minor is a legal process where a court appoints a guardian for a child under the age of 18. A minor may need a guardian of the person when the minor has no living parents. A minor may need a guardian of the estate when he or she has received, or is about to receive, significant money or property from a settlement or inheritance. We assist with all aspects of guardianship for a minor, from deciding whether guardianship is necessary to the court appointment process to ongoing representation of a guardian.
Carol Hunter is on the Spokane County Superior Court Guardian ad Litem Registry and serves as Guardian ad Litem and Independent Counsel in guardianship matters, on a Court appointed basis.
LONG TERM CARE PLANNING
Long-term care is a range of services and support systems you or your family member may need to meet health or personal needs over a long period of time, such as in-home care, assisted living, or nursing home care.
Long-term care planning involves deciding on a plan for in the event such care is a necessity. Starting the process of long-term care planning before you need it allows you to learn about the services and options available, given your personal, estate and financial circumstances. While long-term care government benefits are federally funded, they are state managed. This means that it is important to use an elder law professional fully knowledgeable about the rules in the state in which you live.
Our team will assist with all aspects of a long-term care plan, so it is there when you or your family member needs it.
PROBATE AND TRUST ADMINISTRATION
When a loved one dies, there is not only the grieving process, but also the need to determine how to manage the decedent’s estate, and who should do so.
Often the estate planning documents will lay out the decedent’s preferences in this regard, but there may be a variety of ways the estate can be administered.
Whether your loved one left a Last Will, Trust, or neither, our team will assist by reviewing the decedent’s documents, assets, and circumstances with you to guide you with all aspects of administration, whether it be a small estate affidavit, court involved probate estate, or trust administration.
Our team will also assist when you are not administering the estate, but rather receiving funds from an estate and/or trust, so that you can feel confident you are being treated fairly and as your deceased loved one intended.
SPECIAL NEEDS PLANNING AND TRUSTS
Proper planning for those we love with special needs can make a significant difference for them during their lives, to enable them to maintain eligibility for public benefits, while ensuring a vehicle to provide for any needs not covered by government benefits.
It is important to use an elder law professional fully knowledgeable about the special needs rules for the state in which you live. We will review your loved one’s special needs and your goals and help you to create a plan for their current and future needs.