Estate Planning


You’ve worked hard for what you have, and you know exactly how and what you want to leave behind for your family, those other persons you love and organizations that share your values.  Even your pets!

Not only does planning for your estate through a Will or Trust helps you determine your legacy, it preserves family harmony when you’re gone and the time comes to distribute your property (and pay your bills).  Proper planning can even help protect those assets from being squandered or taken by undeserving creditors.

Likewise, you need to think about what is going to happen if you become incapacitated.  Who is going to take care of things? 

You need a plan in place that will make sure your wishes are followed, not just after you’re gone, but also in case you become physically or mentally unable to do so yourself. 

At Cotto Law firm we take the time to explain your options and design a plan that is best suited to meet your wishes.  

Estate Planning Tools Include

Trusts and Wills

A trust is a legal document that instructs how your assets will be managed during your life and distributed after your death.  Trusts keep your affairs private and out of court.  

There are several types of trusts.  The most common trust is a revocable living trust.  A revocable living trust holds assets and gives the “trustee’’ the power to administer and distribute trust assets.  The person creating the trust, or “trustor”, is typically the initial trustee. A revocable living trust can be changed or revoked during the trustor’s life.  

Durable Powers of Attorney

A power of attorney is a document that allows a person, known as the “principal” to appoint another person, called the “agent” to manage their affairs and assets.  A Power of Attorney can give the agent power over a wide range of matters, not just financial matters.  It can be effective immediately or upon incapacitation. This document can be critical in the event you become unable to take care of your affairs and avoids the need for the Court to appoint a guardian and conservator.  

Talk to us at Cotto Law Firm about the various powers you might need to assign to someone and when the powers should be effective. 

Health Care Powers of Attorney

Health Care Powers of Attorney are an essential part of an estate plan because it allows the person you designate as your “agent” to make medical decisions when you are not capable of doing so.  They can also take care of funeral and disposition arrangements (cremation or burial) for you.  Having a Health Care Power of Attorney can avoid the need for the Court to appoint a guardian.

Living Wills (Medical Directives)

A person can create a document called a living will to control the health care treatment decisions that are made on their behalf.  Typically a Living Will is attached to a Health Care Power of Attorney.  You can provide instructions such as whether or not you want artificially administered foods or fluids if you have a terminal condition that your doctors feel reasonable think is irreversible or incurable. 

Mental Health Powers of Attorney

A Mental Health Care Power of Attorney allows a person, known as the “principal” to designate an “agent” to make mental health and psychiatric care decisions, including admission to an inpatient psychiatric hospitalization program if the principal does not have the capacity to give informed consent.