Welcome to Shenandoah Estate Planning & Elder Law PLC

Estate Planning, Estate Administration, and Elder Law for the Northern Shenandoah Valley

Focused.

At Shenandoah Estate Planning & Elder Law PLC, the focus is entirely on estates and elder law, including the drafting of wills, trusts, and powers of attorney, estate administration and fiduciary services, as well as Medicaid and incapacity planning, and guardianships and conservatorships. This focus means clients benefit from expertise that a general practice firm often cannot provide.

Professional.

“Professional” encompasses first and foremost the utmost respect and courtesy shown to clients and colleagues. Furthermore, it means a dedication to excellence at the practice of law through ongoing education and continual improvement as a lawyer. Finally, it means blending the best of what technology has to offer with age-old legal traditions, all for the benefit of clients.

Affordable.

By leveraging both technology and frugality, Shenandoah Estate Planning & Elder Law PLC keeps overhead costs to a minimum, passing savings on to clients in the form of lower fees than many competitors, beginning with free initial consultations. Estate planning and incapacity planning is too important a matter to let legal fees cause anyone to procrastinate. If you need it done- we will find a way.

Estate Planning, Probate, and Elder Law for the Northern Shenandoah Valley

Shenandoah Estate Planning & Elder Law PLC is a law firm with offices in Winchester and Strasburg founded by attorney Vincent J. Mata that focuses on estate planning, including wills and trusts, probate and estate administration, Medicaid planning and asset preservation, incapacity issues, including guardianships and conservatorships, as well as fiduciary services. Vincent is licensed to practice law in both Virginia and West Virginia and is happy to make house calls 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.

Placeholder
Placeholder

What is “Elder Law”?

Elder law encompasses a variety of legal practice areas, including not only wills, trusts, and estates, but also Medicaid planning and asset preservation, social security issues, guardianships and conservatorships, and unfortunately, sometimes neglect, abuse, or medical malpractice claims.

Not just for the elderly…

Estate planning and “elder law” are not just for the elderly. Estate planning is for people of all ages. Young families in particular 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 an incapacitated 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.”

-Pope Francis

Wills

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.

Revocable Living Trusts

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

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.

Fiduciary Services

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.

About Our Process

Communication

  • Technology

    Tech-savvy clients can take advantage of the secure client portal to send confidential communications, receive drafts of documents for review, obtain current invoices, and more.

  • Telephone

    Clients are always welcome to call. If the attorney is not available, he will return your call at the earliest opportunity.

  • Follow-up Appointments

    Follow-up appointments for review of documents and more extensive questions are always included in flat fee estate planning packages.

  • Tradition

    Clients not comfortable with using an internet client portal can always have documents mailed or faxed to them instead.

The Estate Planning Process

  • Initial Consultation

    We determine your estate planning goals and discuss the best means of obtaining those goals. The attorney-client relationship is formalized at this point with a Letter of Engagement.

  • Drafting & Review

    First drafts of documents are prepared and sent to the client for initial review. Follow-up appointments are scheduled if necessary to answer questions and address changes that may need to be made.

  • Execution

    When the draft documents are finalized, it is time for execution. Most documents require notarization and some require additional witnesses.

  • Follow-through

    Once estate planning documents are executed, there are usually important steps for the client to follow through on, such as re-titling assets or ensuring beneficiaries are properly designated on accounts.

Other Elder Matters

  • Initial Consultation

    At the initial consultation, we determine what your legal needs are and whether we should proceed formally as attorney-client.

  • Task List

    Depending on the nature of the matter, we will determine a timeline and task-list of what needs to be done to complete the undertaken representation.

  • On-going Communication

    As the matter moves along, updates will be provided as appropriate and clients are always welcome to make inquiries about the current status.

  • Wrap-up

    When the matter is concluded, a final invoice and closing letter will be delivered to the client along with any unearned retainer funds deposited with the attorney.

Fees and Payment


Flat Fees

Flat fees are common when the professional time and effort going into a legal service are predictable, and therefore carry few or no surprises for clients, and are almost always lower compared to traditional hourly billing models.

Flat fees are available for many matters, including basic estate planning packages. At least half of the fee is due before any legal work can begin with the remainder due upon conclusion of the matter.

Why no listed prices?

While there are set prices for certain basic services based on the average professional time and effort that would be required, the most basic service may not be the best choice for a particular client. For example, a couple with minor children should usually consider a will with a testamentary trust to provide for their children over time whereas a client with independent adult children might do well with a simple will with direct bequests. If you have any particular questions about pricing, please feel free to call or email.

Request Consultation

Hourly Billing

Hourly billing is usually used when there is less predictability about how much professional time and effort will go into a given matter. For example, litigation or open-ended tasks that involve tailored legal research, are usually billed at an hourly rate.

Most often a retainer will be deposited in the attorney's trust account. Then as bills accrue, payment is debited directly from the retainer. Excess funds will be refunded to the client upon conclusion of the matter.

Hourly Rate

An attorney's hourly billing rate depends on the level of experience, the particular legal field, geographical area, and other factors including overhead costs, etc. Most attorneys in private practice adjust their hourly rate periodically to account for inflation/cost of living changes as well as growth in the demand for their experience and expertise. If you have questions about the current hourly rate at Shenandoah Estate Planning & Elder Law PLC or any other questions about pricing or billing, feel free to call or email.

Request Consultation

Payment may be made by check or credit card. Secure credit card processing is done through LawPay.com

Lawpay.com Credit Card Payment Link

Two Convenient Locations: Old Town Winchester & Historic Strasburg

Metered parking is located in front of the Winchester Office.
Free street parking is available on Massanutten Street in Strasburg.

  • Connector.

    Winchester Office

    143 W BOSCAWEN ST, WINCHESTER, VA 22601-4115

  • Connector.

    Strasburg Office

    110 N MASSANUTTEN ST, STRASBURG, VA 22657

  • Connector.

    Telephone

    TEL: (540) 686-1203

  • Connector.

    Fax

    FAX: (540) 466-1203

  • Connector.

    Email

    lawyer @ shenandoahestatelaw.com

  • Connector.

    Hours

    Monday-Friday 9 AM- 5 PM
    Closed Federal Holidays
    (Please schedule all appointments in advance- the attorney may be at the other office, with a client, or otherwise occupied, and we would not want to miss you!)

Consultation and Contact Form

Initial consultations at the Strasburg and Winchester offices are free.
If you prefer an in-home consultation, there is a $75 fee, plus a reduced hourly rate for the attorney’s travel time. Please call or use the contact form to request an in-home consultation.
No attorney-client relationship is formed by merely contacting the attorney or by scheduling a consultation. Representation will only be formalized by a signed Letter of Engagement.

Schedule an in-office Consultation here:

Or Contact the Attorney Using This Form:

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Telephone Number (required)

Type of Matter (required)

Preferred Location (required)

Subject

Your Message

By checking this box, you acknowledge that no attorney-client relationship is formed merely by requesting a consultation and that a formal letter of engagement including the terms of representation will need to be signed before legal services can be rendered.

About Vincent J. Mata,
Attorney and Counsellor at Law:

Vincent J. Mata is the founding attorney of Shenandoah Estate Planning & Elder Law PLC. 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.


Bar Admissions


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.

Virginia State BarWest Virginia State Bar

Education


Vincent J. Mata began his higher education in 2001, attending the University of Notre Dame and later the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum for undergraduate studies in the classics and philosophy. He obtained a Master’s degree in philosophy at The Catholic University of America and then earned his Juris Doctor (law degree) at George Mason University School of Law.

University of Notre DameRegina Apostolorum Pontifical AthenaeumThe Catholic University of America School of PhilosophyGeorge Mason University School of Law

Professional Organizations


Vincent J. Mata is a member both of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and the Virginia Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. He has also been a member of the Trust & Estates Section of the American Bar Association.

National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys