Fairfax County Wills, Trusts and Estates Attorney

Estate Planning Attorney Offering Solutions Throughout Northern Virginia

fairfax county couple going over estate planning optionsAlthough many believe that estate planning is only for the wealthy, everyone needs to establish financial goals and protect themselves and their loved ones. By enlisting the services of an experienced estate planning attorney, you will have peace of mind knowing that your legacy will be preserved.

Located in Fairfax, Surovell Isaacs & Levy PLC provides comprehensive estate planning services to diverse clients in Northern Virginia and throughout the Commonwealth including middle-income families as well as individuals with significant assets. Our attorneys are well-versed in applicable trusts, estate, and tax laws, and routinely draw up a variety of essential estate planning tools such as:

  • Last Will and Testament (Will) — Establishes how your assets will be managed and distributed after your death. A will also designate an executor to carry out important duties such as identifying and inventorying assets, paying debts to creditors, and transferring assets to the beneficiaries. A will can be used to name guardians to care for your minor children. Without a will in place, Virginia’s intestacy laws will stipulate how your assets are divided upon your death, and your minor children may not be protected.
  • Financial Durable Power of Attorney — Names a trusted person, typically a spouse, other family member or close friend, to manage your personal and financial affairs — paying debts, mortgage payments, auto payments, or managing bank, investment accounts and business interests — in the event that you become incapacitated or are otherwise unable to act.
  • Health Care Power of Attorney — Designates an agent to coordinate your preferred medical treatment with your doctors if you are unable to make or communicate these wishes.
  • Advance Directive – Enables you to indicate your wishes in the event you ever find yourself in a persistent vegetative state or terminal condition, and may include a health care power of attorney for other situations.
  • Revocable Living Trust — An estate planning tool that takes ownership of your property while allowing you to continue managing it during your lifetime. In addition to planning for incapacity, a trust also transfers assets to your beneficiaries after your death, does not need to be probated, and can minimize estate tax consequences. This not only saves time and money, but also maintains the privacy of the financial arrangements.
  • Irrevocable Trust — An irrevocable trust can accomplish important objectives such as providing for a family member with special needs (Special Needs Trust), minimizing estate taxes (Life Insurance Trusts), leaving a charitable legacy (Charitable Trusts). While an irrevocable trust can help to avoid estate taxes and protect assets from creditors, the trust cannot be modified during your lifetime.
  • Family Limited Partnerships (FLP) — Designed for high net-worth individuals, FLPs are usually formed by older family members who transfer limited partnership interests to succeeding family members. In so doing, the size of the older family members taxable estate is reduced, while the limited partners are also eligible for discounted asset valuations at the time of transfer. It is important to note, however, that there are strict Internal Revenue Code rules governing the formation and activities of FLPs.

Guardianship/Conservatorship

Guardianships — Designed to protect a loved one, either a minor child or an adult, who is incapable of caring for him or herself and/or managing his or her financial affairs due to a serious injury, incapacitating physical illness or mental impairment. In the event these are contested by the loved one, we can help.
At Surovell Isaac & Levy PLC, we customize estate plans to suit our clients’ unique needs and objectives — whether planning a small estate, creating more complex plans for those with significant assets, or providing for family members with special needs. Regardless of your financial or family status, we believe that every adult should at least have a will, a power of attorney, and an advance medical directive. At the same time, many of our clients have also benefited from establishing trust-based estate plans.

Estate & Trust Administration

When a person dies with a will in place, his or her estate may need to be probated — the court-supervised process in which the executor transfers assets to the beneficiaries. If the will establishes a testamentary trust, a trustee must be appointed to administer the trust. If a will has not been created, a close relative of the deceased must ask the court to be appointed the estate administrator. Because executors, administrators, and trustees are fiduciaries and can be held liable for mistakes or misconduct, having proper legal representation is essential. The attorneys at Surovell Isaacs & Levy PLC have a well-earned reputation for helping our clients navigate probate and estate and trust administration proceedings in Virginia.

Estate, Trust, & Fiduciary Litigation

Our legal team represents both fiduciaries and beneficiaries in all types of fiduciary, trust, and estate disputes, including:

  • Will and trust validity — fraud, coercion, incapacity or undue influence
  • Breach of fiduciary duty
  • Beneficiary disputes
  • Contested heirship
  • Contested powers of attorney
  • Contested accountings
  • Modifications of wills and trusts
  • Interpretation of trust provisions
  • Fraudulent transfers
  • Recovery of assets
  • Slayer statute litigation (Code of Va. § 64.2-2501)

Call our office or complete the contact form on our website to set up a consultation regarding your estate planning or estate and fiduciary litigation needs.