Estate Planning, Probate, and Elder Law for the Northern Shenandoah Valley
At Shenandoah Elder Law, the focus is entirely on estate planning, probate, and elder law matters, including Medicaid and incapacity planning, which means clients benefit from expertise that a general practice firm often cannot provide.
It begins with the utmost respect and courtesy shown to clients and colleagues and is furthered by a dedication to excellence through ongoing education and continual improvement as a legal professional.
By keeping overhead costs low, savings are passed on to clients in the form of lower fees than many competitors, beginning with free initial consultations.
Estate Planning and Elder Law for the Northern Shenandoah Valley
Shenandoah Elder Law is a law firm based in Winchester, Virginia founded by attorney Vincent J. Mata that focuses entirely on estate planning, probate, and elder law. Vincent is licensed to practice law in both Virginia and West Virginia and is happy to meet with clients in the comfort of their own homes throughout the Northern Shenandoah Valley, including Woodstock, Strasburg, Front Royal, Stephens City, Middletown, as well as all of Frederick, Warren, Shenandoah, and Clarke Counties.
What is “Elder Law”?
Elder law encompasses a variety of legal practice areas, including wills, trusts, and estates, Medicaid planning and asset preservation, social security (especially disability claims), guardianships and conservatorships, and unfortunately, sometimes neglect, abuse, or medical malpractice claims.
Not just for the elderly…
An Estate Planning, Probate, and Elder Law Practice is not only for the elderly. Young families need to have estate plans in place to ensure that minor children are provided for in the event of an emergency or the loss of their parents. Furthermore, it is often the adult children of the elderly who must take the initiative in securing a guardianship or conservatorship for a parent or ensuring that a will or trust is in place, or that an estate is properly administered, whether here in the City of Winchester, Frederick County, or elsewhere in the Northern Shenandoah Valley.
“A population that does not take care of the elderly and of children and the young has no future, because it abuses both its memory and its promise.”
Wills, Trusts, and Other Estate Planning Services
The Last Will and Testament is the traditional core of an estate plan, and every estate plan still includes one. Ranging from the most simple that mirror default rules, to complex wills that trigger the creation of various kinds of trusts upon one’s passing, everyone should have a will to ensure your loved ones are provided for according to your wishes.
Trusts can be powerful instruments for avoiding probate, minimizing estate taxes, protecting assets, preserving government benefits, and more. A trust-based estate plan is generally more expensive upfront because of the more extensive drafting and documents, but often generates savings that far exceed this initial cost.
Power of Attorney
By a Power of Attorney a person names an agent to legally act on their behalf. There are general, specific, durable, limited, immediate, springing, and various combinations of these. A durable general power of attorney is a standard part of any estate plan, but there are circumstances when a power of attorney is all one needs.
Advance Medical Directive
The typical Advance Medical Directive incorporates a heath care power of attorney or proxy, living will, and other indications of one’s health care preferences. An advance medical directive is another customary part of one’s estate plan, and an especially critical part, given that its interpretation directly affects that person.
Special Needs Trusts
Special Needs Trusts are designed to preserve eligibility for government benefits for persons with disabilities and other special circumstances. There are first party and third party variants and sometimes these are created by a will and other times created outright. If you or a loved one receives government benefits and expects to receive money from an inheritance, law suit, or other source, a Special Needs Trust might be in order.
Charitable Trusts are established to benefit qualified charitable organizations and need to follow particular requirements established by the IRS regulations and other laws. If you are interested in establishing a charitable trust to benefit a charitable organization, request a consultation today to discuss your circumstances and options.
Asset Protection Trust
Virginia law now permits domestic asset protection trusts that can help shield assets from potential creditors. If you are at high risk of exposure to liability (physicians, certain business owners, etc.), a domestic asset protection trust may be a prudent option to provide some additional financial security.
Elder Law Services
Long-term Care Planning
Long-term Care Planning often involves legal decision-making about real estate, preserving assets, and other practical matters as the need for long-term nursing care begins to loom on the horizon. To be most effective from an asset preservation perspective, this planning needs to take place 5 years before applying for Medicaid.
Medicaid Eligibility and Application
Medicaid’s eligibility rules are complicated and there are often solutions that an attorney can take advantage of to protect as many assets as possible while still expediting Medicaid qualification. If you are about to apply or have questions about eligibility, feel free to request a consultation.
Guardianships and Conservatorships
Sometimes a loved one can no longer care for themselves or for their property. Depending on the circumstances, sometimes the only solution is initiating a court proceeding to appoint someone to make these decisions. A guardian makes decisions concerning the person’s health, and a conservator manages property and finances. Due to family circumstances, such proceedings are sometimes contested. Request a free consultation today to speak with an attorney about your situation.
Probate and Estate Administration
Probate, Estate Administration
Probate is the court-supervised process of administering an estate under a will or according to default rules when there is no will. In addition to filing the will itself, an inventory of the estate property, and various accountings need to be approved by the local commissioner of accounts until the final distributions are made. If you have been named executor in a will or are an heir at law of someone who passed away without a will and need guidance, request a free consultation today.
Small Estate Services
For relatively small estates, court-supervised estate administration can often be avoided. If a loved one has recently passed away with a small estate, please request a consultation and see if you can avoid a full estate administration.
A fiduciary is someone in a position of trust that acts for the benefit of someone else. If you need a third party conservator, executor for your will, or some other fiduciary role filled for either you or a loved one, request a consultation today.
Other Legal Services
Gun Trusts and Firearms Law
As a firm believer in our Second Amendment rights, Vincent J. Mata is happy to be able to provide legal services to persons interested in purchasing NFA firearms as an extension of his estate planning practice. An NFA Gun Trust provides many advantages over individual ownership. He also offers legal counsel concerning concealed carry and other firearms laws, especially as it relates to trusts and estates.
Office in Historic Winchester, Virginia
Shenandoah Elder Law is conveniently located 2 blocks from the walking mall in Old Town Winchester.
Free street parking is available on Washington Street. Metered spaces and accessible parking is available on Boscawen Street.
143 W BOSCAWEN ST, WINCHESTER, VA 22601
TEL: (540) 686-1203
FAX: (540) 466-1203
About Vincent J. Mata, Attorney and Counsellor at Law:
Vincent J. Mata is the founding attorney of Shenandoah Elder Law. He and his wife and two sons are residents of Warren County, Virginia and parishioners at St. John the Baptist Church. When Vincent is not practicing law, he can usually be found pursuing small-scale agricultural projects such as raising chickens, growing an orchard, or raised bed gardening.
Vincent J. Mata is admitted to practice law in both Virginia and West Virginia. He is also admitted to practice in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia.
Vincent J. Mata attended the University of Notre Dame and the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum for undergraduate studies in the classics and philosophy. He earned a Master’s degree in philosophy at The Catholic University of America and earned his Juris Doctor (law degree) at George Mason University School of Law.
Vincent J. Mata is a member both of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and the Virginia Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. He is also a member of the Trust & Estates Section of the American Bar Association.