Attorney Lisa M. Hughes, Estate Planning
Attorney Lisa M. Hughes is experienced at preparing wills and trusts, powers of attorney, guardianships, and conservatorships; in administering estates of decedents and incapacitated individuals; and in the related tax and asset-protection planning. Her particular areas of focus include succession planning for closely held businesses, same-sex couples, and incapacitated beneficiaries, as well as certain elder-law challenges and trusts for those with special needs.
A graduate of Georgetown University Law Center, Hughes is licensed in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia, and has more than two decades of experience in estates, trusts, and wealth-planning.
Additionally, Hughes is a member of the Board of Governors of the Trusts and Estates Section of the Virginia State Bar; she is a Public Safety Trainer with the Commonwealth Autism Service (www.autismva.org); and she serves as legal counsel to Spectrum Housing Foundation, a tax-exempt organization that facilitates support for disabled adults.
Contact Lisa Hughes by email.
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Washington, DC, March 6, 2015 — “Are you confused about the concept of giving someone a Power of Attorney (POA)?” asks Lisa Hughes, an attorney and partner at Yates Campbell & Hoeg LLP.
In fact, it has nothing to do with delegating power to a lawyer or an attorney-at-law, she explains.
What it is: A POA is a legal document in which we name another person to make legally binding financial decisions for us.
How it works: The person delegating authority using the POA is known as the principal, and the person chosen to make decisions on behalf of the principal is the agent. The principal dictates the scope of the authority that is granted as well as the time when the authority becomes effective. The principal can later withdraw the grant of authority. As with any legally binding relationship, each party has duties as well as rights. In sum, the POA is a special type of contract.
What you need to know: There are a number of concepts to keep in mind when considering the type of authority you would include — and sometimes, choose not to include — in a POA.
Follow these 6 tips from Hughes to empower yourself with a Power of Attorney:
Washington, DC, February 10, 2015 — “If you own your own business, you can be sure that preparing a Last Will & Testament or an estate plan will be challenging — but don’t let that discourage you from doing it anyway,” insists Lisa Hughes, an attorney and partner at Yates Campbell & Hoeg LLP.
“Business owners, especially those who started a business themselves and then made it successful, generally want to provide for the smooth transition of control of the business at their death, disability, or retirement,” she explains. “At the same time, they also want to provide benefits to themselves, their families, their charities, their employees, and their customers.”
With so much at stake, the best strategy is to start the transition process at the time the business is started as opposed to when the hearse is pulling up to the curb. Begin with the basics, Hughes insists.
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Washington, DC, January 19, 2015 — “Once you embark on the estate planning journey, the question of whether to include a Revocable Living Trust in your plan is inevitable,” insists estate planning attorney Lisa Hughes, a long-time partner at the Fairfax, Virginia, law firm Yates Campbell & Hoeg LLP.
“Begin by learning the purpose of this tool and then determine if it makes sense for your plan,” suggests Hughes in the Estate Planning column of this month’s issue of BeInkandescent magazine.
Scroll down for our Q&A.
Question: What is a Revocable Living Trust?
Lisa Hughes: In a nutshell, a Revocable Living Trust (RLT) is a stand-alone document (separate from the Will and the Power of Attorney) that creates a trust entity in which the Settlor (the person creating the RLT) benefits during the Settlor’s lifetime,” Hughes explains. “And, the trust continues after the Settlor’s death for the benefit of the Settlor’s other beneficiaries.”
Washington, DC, December 2, 2014 — “A trust is a contract that’s on steroids,” insists Estate Planning attorney Lisa Hughes, a long-time partner at the Washington, DC law firm Yates Campbell & Hoeg LLP.
“While contracts are between buyers and sellers, every trust involves three parties,” explains Hughes in the primer she offers in the current issue of Be Inkandescent magazine
- Settlor: The party that creates the trust.
- Trustee: The party responsible for carrying out the settlor’s desires and intentions regarding the trust property.
- Beneficiary: Those who benefit from the trust.
Just as the consumption of steroids can create serious side effects, it’s important to consider the side effects of “trust use” or “trust abuse” before you ask your attorney to prescribe a trust for you.
Washington, DC, October 17, 2014 — When embarking on the estate planning adventure, many people want to focus on ways to protect and grow their investments or create a “golden” retirement for themselves.
But the best place to start is actually at the end, insists estate planning attorney Lisa Hughes.
“I recommend that you start by asking yourself one important question: What do I want to happen to my assets after I die? Then answer it in writing,” says Hughes. (Spoiler alert: The answer should be your Will, aka: Last Will and Testament.)
“This document delegates control over property once the person creating the Will (the “testator”) dies,” Hughes says. “Since Wills are the cornerstones of all estate planning, your Will should be the first document you prepare when doing your estate planning.
Washington, DC, September 3, 2014 — Estate planning can be complicated, but following attorney Lisa Hughes’ four straightforward steps will make it easier for you and your heirs.
“When I explain estate planning to my clients, I compare it to how I decide upon a new hairstyle,” says Hughes, a partner at Yates Campbell & Hoeg LLP. “I talk to my friends, do my research, ask a lot of questions, and pick the professional that will give me the result I want. In the end, I am an informed consumer—and, most importantly, I understand my role in the process.”
Of course, a new haircut is temporary; how you provide for your heirs can affect lives for years to come.
Here are four simple steps that will make it easier to conceptualize and work through creating an estate plan that will protect your family if you die or become disabled.