Personal Counsel Services
The traditional label of probate lawyer does not convey well a sense of the kinds of work to be accomplished by lawyers serving their clients in the area of death transfer planning. The label “personal counsel” better defines the role of the family lawyer in the scope of practice called for today.
The role of personal counsel includes the use of legal concepts, instruments and entities to implement all of an individual client’s legitimate personal, family, business and charitable objectives and values. The tasks performed by personal counsel involve the preparation of wills and revocable and irrevocable trusts, along with individual tax planning of all kinds. The lawyer serving as personal counsel is involved directly in helping the client to make and to implement decisions on a broad range of issues involving the client’s personal judgments and values. Some examples might include:
1. Preparation of wills.
2. Use of living trusts to avoid probate, for property management and other fiduciary responsibilities.
3. Use of durable powers of attorney for property management and health care decisions.
4. Living wills.
5. Conservatorships and guardianships.
6. Use of lifetime gifts.
7. Planning charitable gifts including charitable remainder trusts.
8. Pot trust while a youngest child is below a stated age.
9. Providing for educational needs of children and grandchildren through the use of trusts.
10. QTIP trust.
11. Spendthrift provisions.
12. Per stirpes versus per capita distribution.
13. Disability and health care planning.
14. Business purchase agreements between principals.
15. Family partnerships, corporations, and limited liability companies.
The personal counsel’s involvement includes assisting the client in thinking through and making decisions on the basis of the full scope of the personal counsel’s experience, legal competence and human understanding.
The role of personal counsel is derived in part from legal training and experience, in part from qualities of discipline of mind and in part from a relationship with a client based on professional confidentiality. For any particular client, the scope of the lawyer’s services as personal counsel depends on the client’s needs and circumstances which in some cases may call for relatively uncomplicated services but in others may call for services requiring specialized experience and expertise, sometimes aided by the expertise of those in other specialties. The role of personal counsel may involve the most sophisticated and creative kinds of legal work, or it may involve only thoroughly familiar solutions to often encountered needs.
The lawyers at Mayfield and Brooks, LLC serve as personal counsel for many successful persons, families and businesses in Tippecanoe County and surrounding areas.