Having an estate plan is essential regardless of whether or you are single or married, young or old. Nobody ever knows what the future will bring, so having a comprehensive estate plan set up to make it easier for your family during a time of illness or death is essential. For information about the estate planning process, call Leslie Lawson at (816) 524 -3838.
Wills: A will is essential at every stage of life. Your last will provides the opportunity to distribute your property, establish care for your children and otherwise express your wishes upon your death. A will is necessary if you intend to leave property to a person or entity other than a blood relative, such as a domestic partner, a friend or a charity. If you die without a will, the court determines how your property is distributed, who cares for your children and even what happens to your pet – making decisions that might not reflect your desires. Having a will also makes the probate process easier for those having to handle your estate when you are gone.
The Wills we draft for individuals with minor children ensure provisions are made within for a trust to be set for the minor children so that money can be accessed without court intervention so that care and education can be had by your children. Additionally, your will allows you to make decisions about the future care for your children. This is especially crucial if you are a single parent or if both parents die in a common incident. If you do not name a guardian, the court will appoint a guardian for your children and can make decisions adverse to your ultimate parenting goals.
Trust: A trust may be set up to avoid the probate process all together and in the case of a large estate avoid. While not everyone needs a trust one may create more hassle for the person while they are living, I highly recommend a trust for older individuals who have estates where there is a large amount of property and assets that cannot otherwise be transferred in a non-probate manner.
Living Will and Healthcare Directive: It is important to have a Living Will and Healthcare Directive set up in the event that you end up in a vegetative state. A Living Will and Healthcare directive will alleviate the possible guilt of a person tasked with the decision to terminate life support.
Durable Powers of Attorney: Powers of Attorney for finances and healthcare are essential for people of all ages. With the increased privacy laws, obtaining information concerning a loved one or close friend is becoming more and more difficult. Additionally, even in times of illness, your financial matters still need to be attended to. Powers of Attorney will allow a designated person to attend to your healthcare and financial needs, during time of illness or incapacitation.
Non-probate transfers: In addition to preparing all the necessary documents to ensure that your family is prepared in the event of your illness or death, Leslie Lawson will also have discussions with you about how you can ensure that property and assets will pass directly to your family and loved ones outside of the probate process. Often times, the goal is minimize the estate that will have to go through the probate process to make it simpler and less expensive for the surviving person.
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