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Wills, Trusts and Estate Administration in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C.

Proper estate planning, which generally includes drafting a will or devising a trust, offers many advantages aside from allowing individuals to pass on legacies in the manner intended. A person who dies intestate (without a will) or without a trust will leave his or her estate to be administered in a lengthy and expensive process called probate in his or her last state of residence. Instances of distant unknown relatives inheriting sums equal to close family members often occur as a result of dying intestate or with inadequate estate planning.

In addition to passing on inheritances, effective estate planning provides asset protection and minimizes monetary loss through taxation. Many estate planning tools are available. Experienced estate planning attorneys, well-versed in the intricacies of asset protection and taxation, can assist you in safeguarding your estate for retirement or providing for family in the event of unexpected death.


A will is a legal document that designates how one’s property and assets will be distributed after death. Generally, a will also assigns an executor or executrix to the estate who will distribute assets and property according to the person’s wishes. When appropriate, a will may establish a guardian for surviving minor children. A pour-over will may also be advised to transfer property not included in a trust.


Trusts enable property or assets to be held or managed on behalf of another. Accurate financial analysis is required, and numerous types of trusts are devised to incorporate terms and conditions that meet financial objectives and fulfill client needs. When considering a trust, it serves a client’s best interests to obtain an estate planning attorney with extensive knowledge and an in-depth understanding of trusts.

Estate Planning

In addition to planning for retirement or passing on inheritances, estate planning extends to management of affairs and assets when an elderly parent or relative has become incapable due to physical or mental incapacity. Available legal options include powers of attorney, durable power of attorney, conservatorships, or guardianships to manage physical care and financial matters. An Advance Medical Directive, or living will, allows individuals to set guidelines for health care, to establish preferences for end of life care (including feeding tubes or IVs if an illness is terminal), and to designate a person authorized to make health care decisions for the person when he or she is no longer competent. Decisions regarding burial or cremation after death may also be addressed in an advance medical directive or will.

Estate Administration

Estate Administration requires the executor, administrator or trustee to manage the assets of the estate, which includes taking control of and inventorying assets, paying creditors, paying taxes, making itemized accountings, and documenting receipts, disbursements and distributions of assets. Generally an estate administration attorney will assist, manage or oversee the administration of an estate for his or her clients.

Our Annandale, VA estate planning attorneys at Becker, Kellogg & Berry, P.C. assist clients with all aspects of estate planning, wills, trusts and estate administration. To arrange a consultation to discuss estate planning, please contact us online or call our office at 888-312-5087.