Estate Planning


Estate planning is the seemingly simple concept of addressing the transfer of property and management of your affairs upon your death or incapacity. However, without professional guidance in the development of your estate plan, many unintended consequences and inequitable scenarios are likely to occur. Everyone has unique sets of circumstances that need to be addressed individually. Knowing just enough to be dangerous or the reliance upon how a particular “estate plan” worked for a friend or family member, can lead to major mistakes. Our knowledgeable and friendly attorneys are here to help you develop a plan.

What is an Estate Plan?

An estate plan is the compilation of properly executed legal documents that address issues of death, incapacity, minor guardianship, and property management and distribution. Probate avoidance and control of your assets after your death are other important aspects that can be achieved through the development of a professionally tailored estate plan. Life events such as owning real property, getting married, and having children are all key indicators that you should consider estate planning. You are especially encouraged to prepare an estate plan if you are: in a second marriage; have step-children; own out-of-state property; have special needs children, or have beneficiaries with spendthrift concerns.

What Is A Will?

A Last Will and Testament (“Will”)  is a legal document designed to coordinate the distribution of your assets and is especially important if you desire to have your final wishes clearly communicated after death.

When there is no will, the state in which you reside has the power to decide how to distribute your assets to your beneficiaries according to the state’s laws. This process is known as “intestate succession” and it may result in a settlement process contrary to what you prefer for your survivors. This can be prevented, however, by meeting with our attorneys to have documents drafted reflecting your wishes.

Other Estate Plan Documents

The Revocable Living Trust (“Trust”) is a legal document that allows you to control the management and distribution of your assets after your death. The Trust accomplishes what many people assume a Will does, but without the expense of an intervening court. This Probate avoidance is the key component of what is sometimes called a “comprehensive estate plan.”

The Last Will and Testament (“Will”) is a legal document that allows you to dictate how you wish your property to be distributed upon your death as well as nominate guardians of your minor children. This is the fundamental document to what is sometimes called a “basic estate plan.” However, a Will has no legal effect until filed and admitted with the Probate court.


A Pour-Over Will is a Will that is made in conjunction with a Trust and is part of the comprehensive estate plan. This Will simply states that your Trust is the beneficiary of your estate. The Pour-Over Will is used when you have assets in your estate that have not been conveyed to the Trust.

The Durable Power of Attorney (“DPOA”) is a legal document that allows you to appoint someone to make medical and/or financial decision making on your behalf if you are unable to. The DPOA can be used seamlessly in the event of an emergency and in most instances avoids the expense of a court-supervised Guardianship. This document is an integral part of all estate plans.

The Advance Directive is a legal document that allows you to direct medical professionals as to your wishes in the event that you are in a terminal condition without the chance of recovery. Medical professionals will only examine the Advance Directive as an instrument of last resort. The Advance Directive takes the weight of these difficult decisions off your family’s shoulders.

Contact Us Today!

The knowledgeable attorneys at Coffman and Seidenberger are prepared to help you design an estate plan that meets your goals. We will work with you and your family to put together a plan that meets your unique circumstances, adding additional documents as necessary. Rest assured that you will receive personalized and professional service at every step in the process.