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Estate Planning

Estate Planning

An estate plan protects your loved ones, your property, and yourself against potential legal and financial turbulence in end-of-life situations. A well-crafted estate plan should resolve concerns surrounding the transfer of your property, the management of your finances, and your own well-being in the case that you are incapacitated. We’ll guide you to answering all of these questions with confidence:

  • How will your children be supported and cared for if you become unfit?
  • Who will make critical medical decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated?
  • How will your bank accounts and bills be handled after your passing?
  • What property of yours will be transferred to whom?
  • What are your wishes regarding end-of-life care?
  • How can my family avoid probate court?
  • What protections can I set up against creditors, failed marriages, and impulsivity?
  • Who will care for your children after your death?
  • How can you avoid excessive taxes on your estate?

Meet with Keele & Parke to get started on your estate plan.

Incapacity Planning

Your estate plan should account for more than only the case of your death, but creating a plan for potential incapacity due to illness, mental deterioration, age, or physical trauma can be overwhelming. Our goal is to make sure you can rest comfortably knowing that your life is in order, even in the wake of tragedy. The following six documents will be considered as part of your incapacity plan:

General Durable Power of Attorney:

A general durable power of attorney appoints an agent to make decisions regarding your finances if you become incapacitated. The agent appointed under this document will have the power, among other things, to manage your bank accounts, buy and sell property on your behalf, manage your other assets, and open your mail.

Healthcare Power of Attorney:

A healthcare power of attorney appoints someone to make medical decisions for you if you cannot communicate or are otherwise incapacitated. Your healthcare agent will be able to make decisions regarding your routine medical treatment, specific courses of treatment, which doctors and hospitals treat you, long-term care, and many other vital issues.

HIPAA Release:

A HIPAA Release allows the agents appointed under your other documents to access your protected medical information (i.e., your patient files and insurance information). This document ensures that your representatives have the best information to make the right decisions. Many healthcare providers will not discuss your condition with your loved ones unless they are listed on this document.

Living Will:

If your condition deteriorates to the point that you are in a permanent vegetative state, are terminally ill without the ability to communicate, or have no higher brain function, a living will tells doctors what your final wishes are.

Revocable Trust:

A revocable trust is an entity designed to manage your personal assets during your life and after your death. A revocable trust appoints a successor trustee to manage any property owned by your trust if you are no longer able to serve as trustee because of your incapacity.

Guardianship Declaration:

If you have minor children, it is important to specify who should take custody of your children if you are no longer able to care for them. Generally speaking, if your children have a surviving biological parent, that person will have priority in guardianship.

Meet with the experts at Keele & Parke to plan your living will, estate, or trust today.

Last Will & Testament

The most often discussed document in an estate plan is the Last Will and Testament. This document expresses your wishes in a legally binding way. A complete will can:

  • Designate guardianship for minor children;
  • Appoint an executor or personal representative to take care of your property and ensure that it ends up in the right hands after your passing;
  • Determine how your property will be divided up between your family and loved ones; and place restrictions on the use of property in order to protect those who receive it.

An unaccompanied Last Will and Testament is not likely your only route to a smooth estate execution. Several alternatives exist to a traditional will document, each offering different advantages. Our insightful knowledge of each will help you make the right decisions about your estate.


At Keele & Parke, every option is explored. Your estate plan will likely include a number of different documents and strategies, each selected and modified for you and your family. One common strategy in estate planning is a trust.

Trusts are another well-known document often included in an estate plan, and are primarily intended to prevent your estate from being executed by a probate court. Our clients enjoy the confidence of a perfectly arranged trust agreement that will sustain their wishes after passing.

A trust is an entity formed to manage your personal assets. Trusts are established under the settler’s social security number, meaning that property and capital can be granted to the trust without incurring additional taxes.

A trust is designed in a “trust agreement.” The settler names beneficiaries in the trust agreement, who are often responsible for managing the trust’s property. This trust agreement also defines the restrictions on beneficiaries’ withdrawals and use of trust funds and property. When the trustor passes away, a revocable trust becomes an irrevocable trust, and cannot be amended, revoked, or modified.

There are two types of trusts utilized in estate planning:

Revocable trusts offer more flexibility, allowing you to designate people you trust to make certain decisions on your behalf if you are rendered incapacitated or pass away. Typically, a revocable trust can be changed by the grantor at any time, until their death.

When the grantor of a revocable trust passes away, the trust becomes an irrevocable trust. An irrevocable trust is one whose terms are fixed and cannot be modified after its organization. Irrevocable trust agreements typically include more limitations upon the withdrawal and expenditure of trust capital, and those restrictions cannot be amended without the agreement of all beneficiaries. A standard irrevocable trust also offers your assets more protection from creditors and lawsuits than a revocable trust.

Trusts are an incredibly versatile tool in estate planning and can be tailored to meet your specific needs.

Our comprehensive approach ensures that your trust integrates seamlessly with your overall estate plan, providing you with the peace of mind that comes from knowing your wishes will be respected and your loved ones will be taken care of. A well designed trust strategically implemented with the legal counsel from Keele & Parke can also help prevent family conflict and excessive litigation.

Business Succession Planning

Unmatched Counsel

We offer counsel that is unmatched in our understanding of business management and sustainable operating practices. With our experience, you can continue building your legacy with the composure that comes with knowing it is safe.

Business Ownership

Estate planning can be complicated by the unique challenges of business ownership. As a part of your estate, it’s important to set up safeguards for transferring not only company equity, but also ongoing management responsibilities. An estate plan for a business owner should prioritize the company’s seamless operation in end-of-life scenarios.

Buy-Sell Agreements

One common business succession solution is accomplished through the use of buy-sell agreements, which outline prices and terms for purchasing the deceased owner’s shares. Business succession can also be compensated by employing a universal life insurance policy, which not only offers financial support to your family, but can also fund a buy-sell agreement.

Death Taxes: Estate, Gift, GST, & Income

Understanding the intricacies of estate planning can be complex, particularly when it comes to navigating various taxes that can impact your estate execution. At Keele & Parke, we strive to demystify the landscape by providing informed guidance on estate taxes, gift taxes, income taxes, and generation-skipping transfer taxes.

Estate taxes refer to taxes imposed on the transfer of assets upon an individual's death. A certain amount can be transferred free of tax, known as your “estate tax exemption.” This exemption is reduced by the amount of gifts made in your lifetime.

Gift taxes are paid when you gift money or property to other people during your lifetime, to the federal government. An annual exemption allows for unlimited smaller gifts to be made each year, while larger gifts are added up and taxed at the end of your life.

Generation-skipping transfer taxes apply to transfers made to beneficiaries who are more than one generation younger than the donor. The purpose of the GST tax is to prevent people from avoiding estate taxes by leaving property to their grandchildren, thus skipping one generation of estate taxes. Similarly to estate taxes, exemptions exist that allow certain amounts to remain untouched by the GST tax.

Income taxes can also have implications in estate planning. Our knowledgeable team will analyze your unique situation to help minimize income tax burdens for your estate and beneficiaries, providing guidance on effective income tax planning strategies.

Our clients benefit from legal counsel with a sophisticated understanding of these taxes and their effects on estate plans. Keele & Parke is dedicated to providing every client with the solution fit for their estate, and to preserving more of your hard-earned assets.

Charitable Planning

Strategic Planning

We understand the importance of creating a lasting impact beyond one's lifetime and are committed to helping individuals and families fulfill their philanthropic goals through strategic estate planning.

Charitable Giving

Charitable giving at death can be enormously complicated, but there are proven strategies to maximize the benefits of this type of planning. An estate plan can account for charitable giving through several avenues including gifts of money, life insurance proceeds, and transfers of property.

Experienced Counsel

Experienced counsel assists our clients in navigating this personal and meaningful endeavor. We recognize the significance of lasting philanthropy and are here to serve you in developing a giving plan that meets your and your family’s specific needs and wishes.

Asset Protection

Asset protection strategies are used any time you want to preserve specific assets from creditors, lawsuits, failed marriages, or other unforeseen circumstances. Effective strategies must be put in place long before the risk becomes real in order for the strategies to be effective. Significant risks may exist if you:

  • own rental real estate.
  • own a professional practice (doctor, dentist, chiropractor, etc.).
  • are leaving an inheritance to a spouse or children.
  • have an unusual risk of lawsuit because of risky business activity or ventures.
  • are a target for predatory lawsuits.

The right asset protection strategies can give you the peace of mind you need. Keele & Parke guarantees that each option is explored to account for each concern you may have.

Proper estate planning preserves your family’s heritage. Contact Keele & Parke to begin.