How do you start the process of estate planning?

Attorney Jill Rynkowski Doyle provides comprehensive estate planning services for clients in Washington, D.C. and Massachusetts. She also assists clients with estate administration and probate and works with fiduciaries in the District of Columbia. Please call (202) 617-4256 or use the online contact form to schedule a consultation or request additional information.

Do you need a trust?

There are many different types of trusts that can accomplish a variety of goals.  Whether a trust is for asset management and transfer, asset protection, tax planning, or even to insure your children are not receiving significant assets before they are mature enough to manage them, trusts can be very effective estate planning tools.

What is a health care proxy?

A healthcare proxy or health care directive is a legal document that gives someone you designate (your agent) the authority to make health care decisions on your behalf, when you are incapacitated and not able to make medical decisions for yourself.

What is a durable power of attorney?

A durable power of attorney (DPOA) is a legal document that gives someone you designate (your agent) the authority to make financial decisions on your behalf, when you are not able to do so yourself.  It is called durable because it survives your incapacity.  The power is only valid while you are living.

Why do you need a will?

A last will and testament is a legal document that specifies how you would like your assets to be distributed at your death.  If you do not have a will, state laws of intestacy determine distribution of your assets. For example, in the District of Columbia, if a person is married without children when they pass away, the laws of intestate succession provide that the decedent’s parents are entitled to a significant share of the estate.  The surviving spouse would also receive a share of the assets, but it may be far less than the decedent and their spouse would have wanted.  

A will also identifies the person who manages your estate (your executor) when you pass. If you have children, you name their guardian in your will as well.  If you do not have a will, these appointments can create unwanted controversy in your family.  A will insures you have control over these critical elements of your estate.