When it becomes time to start planning for your future and the future of your family, the advice of an estate planning attorney can be of great value. Here is what to look for in an estate planning attorney Kansas City, Missouri residents can benefit from.
The type of legal work an estate planning attorney performs
Estate planning attorneys are experts in preparing their clients for death, as well as the potential for incapacity. An estate planning attorney Kansas City, Missouri residents hire can provide customized service, based on their needs and goals for the future. For instance, not all clients want to involve family in the management or planning of their estates. No matter how you want to proceed, your estate planning attorney can explain all of your options and help you determine the tools you need to meet your goals. Your attorney will also make sure every aspect of your plan complies with state law so your estate plan will be valid.
Estate planning attorneys have special skills
In light of the fact that an estate plan is not exactly a “one-size-fits-all” process, it would be wise to employ an estate planning attorney who has the special skill necessary to create a customized plan for you. Those special skills include keeping up with the applicable state laws regarding probate, wills, and trusts. Estate planning attorneys also need to be experienced at drafting the various types of estate planning tools to ensure that they comply with all of those applicable laws.
What estate planning typically involves
The fundamental components of most estate plans are wills and trusts. The purpose of a will is to specify how you want your estate distributed after your death. A will can also identify who should be the guardian for any minor children you may have at that time. A trust is a fiduciary agreement between the person creating the trust and the chosen trustee. A trust allows the trustee to secure and manage the trust assets for the benefit of your named beneficiaries.
Why it is crucial to plan ahead
Preparing for the future is an important goal in life. But, when it comes to your estate, planning ahead gives you the valuable opportunity to determine now who should inherit your assets after your death. Estate planning is also a great way to reduce your estate taxes. Incapacity is something else that needs to be considered in estate planning. Whether it is temporary or permanent, your family must have the tools they will need to help you through that incapacity. They need the authority to handle your affairs for you until you are able to do so yourself.
Preparing for your death with an estate plan
Generally speaking, an estate plan serves two primary goals – preparing for death and incapacity. In order to prepare your family for your death, your plan needs to first provide resources to pay off your debts. Then you can specify who should receive any remaining property. In most cases, the last will and testament is used to accomplish this. A will, as it is more commonly known, is basically written instructions about how to handle your property after you die. Your will can also identify the person you want to manage the ultimate distribution of your estate after your death.
Preparing for the possibility of incapacity
You can never predict when some unexpected injury or medical condition can result in your inability to handle your own affairs. For that reason, having an estate plan that provides for incapacity is so important. If incapacity befalls you, then you need someone trusted and reliable to make the important decisions you may no longer be able to make. Most incapacity plans address both financial and medical concerns.
What happens if you don’t have an incapacity plan?
The reality is if you do suffer incapacity at some point in your life, whether permanent or temporary, but you do not have a plan, it is very likely that a court-appointed guardian will be necessary. Besides being very expensive, a guardian will result in relinquishing control of your financial and health care matters entirely. In order to avoid the need for a guardian, you need to have an estate plan. Your estate planning attorney can help you get started.
Join us for a free workshop! If you have questions regarding trusts, or any other estate planning matters, contact Gaughan & Connealy for a consultation either online or by calling us at (816) 974-3030.