The Kueser Law Firm is a Lees Summit Estate Planning Law Firm that works with clients across the Kansas City, Missouri area on Wills, Trusts, and more.
Estate Planning Helps You Avoid Putting Your Family’s Future at Risk.
The old adage “Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail” is never more true than in the area of Estate Planning. Ensuring you protect your loved ones if you die or become incapacitated is important. To that end, Estate Planning allows you to make sure you decide how your property is to be distributed and how your family is taken care of if something happens to you.
The Kueser Law Firm provides various types of Estate Planning services in the Kansas City, Missouri area. We can help you whether you need a Will, Trust, Healthcare Directive, or Power of Attorney. In addition, we work with your other advisers (CPA, financial adviser, etc.) to make sure the proper Estate Plan is in place to protect you and your family.
Do You Have a Will or Trust? If Yes, When Was the Last Time You Reviewed Your Will or Trust With an Attorney?
The most basic Estate Planning tools are a Last Will and Testament (a “Will”), and a Living Trust (a “Trust”).
A Will is an Inexpensive Estate Planning Tool To Meet a Variety of Needs.
A Will is a legal declaration by which a person (“Testator”), names one or more people to manage his/her estate at death. Specifically, a Will provides for the transfer of your property at death. If you have children, you can use a Will to name who takes care of your children. Additionally, you can use a Will to provide for management of your property for the benefit of your children.
If you die without a Will, the court will declare you as having died intestate. When this happens, the law of the state in which you live determines the division of your property. Particularly, the law may require that your estate distribute your property differently than you would like. Furthermore, the probate court of your state of residence supervises this process. As such, the court may name someone you would not choose to take care the division of your assets. Additionally, without proper Estate Planning, the court determines who takes care of your children. In other words, you lose control.
Therefore, four main reasons to have a Will are:
- Avoiding intestacy and having the state decide who receives your property.
- Appointing an Executor to distribute your property among your heirs.
- Designating a Guardian for your children.
- Choosing a Guardian or Trustee to administer and care for property for the benefit of your children.
Ultimately, you have the ability to make these choices. However, you must take action.
A Trust Is a Flexible Estate Planning Tool To Manage Property.
A Trust is a document that names a person (Trustee) to hold, manage, and distribute property based on the rules you set. Specifically, there are a number of good reasons you should have a Trust. These include the following:
- Creating a customizable estate plan for your family.
- Establishing control over your property while you are alive.
- Designating control over property you give to others, including who, what, and when.
- Having flexibility as to the management of your assets, as a Trust remains dynamic because you can always change the provisions that pertain to your share of the trust assets.
- Avoiding the probate process, thereby transferring assets more quickly and avoiding the time and expense usually occurring with probate.
- Keeping your assets and wishes private (unlike a Will, a Trust is a private document and is not generally public record).
- Being able to provide uninterrupted management of your estate even if you and your spouse become incapacitated.
- Having uniformity in the management of your property wherever you live — a Living Trust is valid in every state.
- Deferring or eliminating estate taxes.
- Taking advantage of estate tax exemptions to maximize applicable credit(s).
Are You Married? Do You Have Children? Estate Planning Allows You To Take Care of Your Family If You Die or Become Incapacitated.
Often the most compelling reason to prepare a Will or Trust is to protect your spouse or children. As a spouse and/or parent, you understand the responsibility you have to your family. Part of that responsibility is making sure you have done what you can to protect your children and your family. Unfortunately, people often fail to plan for bad reasons or based on poor assumptions.
Some good questions to ask yourself are:
- What would happen to my children if I were to become disabled?
- If I die, what would happen to my children?
- Who would be responsible for the health, safety, and welfare of my children?
- Would my children have the necessary financial resources to ensure the same or similar quality of life that they currently have?
- If something were to happen to me, do I want my children to receive their share of my estate on their 18th birthday or do I want to have more control over when this happens?
If the answers to any of these questions are important to you, you should speak with an Estate Planning attorney. To speak with an attorney about your Estate Plan, please call us at (816) 374-5865. Alternatively, you can complete the form below and a Lees Summit Estate Planning attorney will contact you.
Do You Have a Healthcare Directive? Do you Have a Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare and/or Financial Decisions?
Estate planning addresses life-changing events other than death. Generally speaking, these include situations where YOU are:
- Involved in an accident or suffer an illness or other trauma and become incapacitated (unable to take care of your medical and/or financial affairs)
- Put on “life support” as the result of an accident, illness, or trauma; or are
- Unable to take care of yourself and/or your children
If any of these occur, it is often your family that bears the burden – emotionally and financially. Without a proper Estate Plan, the courts will step in and direct how to handle your affairs. Therefore, you should ask:
Do you want to make these decisions or have someone else make them for you?
A Healthcare Directive is an Estate Planning Tool That Allows You To Control How You Live.
Would you like to remain alive under life support if there is no reasonable expectation that medical technology will be able to revive you? Do you want your family to have to incur the costs to keep you “alive” under these circumstances? A Healthcare Directive is the best way you can document what you want to happen with your life.
A Power of Attorney is an Estate Planning Tool That Allows You to Control Who Makes Decisions on Your Behalf If You Are Unable To Do So.
What will happen if you are no longer able to make decisions for yourself? Every person should plan for this. By executing a Durable Power of Attorney, you can name who will make medical and/or financial decisions for you. The Power of Attorney also allows you to designate the circumstances under which this person makes these decisions. If you do not have a Power of Attorney, the court will make these decisions for you. Consequently, failing to have a Durable Power of Attorney could potentially leave you, and more importantly, your family, exposed to unnecessary burden – and risks.
Are You a Business Owner? What Would Happen To Your Business If you Die or Become Incapacitated or Disabled? Are You Sure?
The Kueser Law Firm also works with small business owners. We understand the issues business owners face. One of those issues is making sure the business continues if the owner dies or becomes incapacitated or disabled. For more information about how the firm works with small business owners, go to our Startup and Business Lawpage.
Estate Planning allows business owners to plan for succession of the business. Proper planning can provide for a seamless transition of the business if something happens to the owner. Furthermore, Estate Planning can also help a business owner protect their family’s interests if a life-changing event happens.
To speak with an attorney about Estate Planning for your business, please call us at (816) 374-5865. Or you can also complete the form below and a Lees Summit Estate Planning attorney will contact you.
The Kueser Law Firm Provides a Free Estate Planning Consultation for People in the Lees Summit area. Therefore, It Costs You Nothing To Receive Answers to Your Questions.
There are many reasons why people put off Estate Planning. These reasons include the following:
- Unnecessary: My family knows what I want to have happen if I die or become disabled.
- Time: I do not have time to have a will or trust prepared.
- Cost: It costs too much to have a will or trust prepared.
- Mortality: I do not like to think about dying.
- Lawyers: I do not like talking to lawyers.
- Fear: I am afraid of attorneys, or I am afraid of my mortality.
- Complexity: The subject of wills and trusts is too complicated for me.
- Indecisiveness: I have a hard time making decisions. I cannot decide whether a will or trust is appropriate for me and/or who I want to give my belongings to if I die.
- Unimportance: I do not need a will or trust until I have children.
- Indifference: Let my kids work it out between themselves.
- Despair: Let the government take it all!
- Ignorance: I am too young to die!
These are all poor reasons. Everyone dies. When someone dies, the amount of grief and sadness is often unbearable. Add to that the stress related to making necessary arrangements, and the last thing your heirs want (or need) to worry about is deciding how to divide up your stuff. This, of course, assumes they could do so. Dying without a will puts the state in control of the division of your belongings and who takes care of your children.
There Are Specific Legal Requirements That Must Be Met For Your Estate Plan to Be Effective.
The law requires that Wills and Trusts meet certain requirements. Therefore, it is important to work with an attorney in creating your Estate Plan.
Sure, you can go online and pay for a website to create your will or trust or download an inexpensive template from a website. However, you often get what you pay for.
If You Live in the Lees Summit or Kansas City Area, Contact Us to Speak With an Estate Planning Attorney to Make Sure Your Family and/or Your Business Are Protected.
The Kueser Law Firm understands how important it is to make sure you protect your family and your business if something happens to you. We also understand that discussing Estate Planning is very uncomfortable. Most likely, failing to properly plan will not affect you. Rather, it will affect your family and others who depend on you. For their sake, take a few minutes to talk to an attorney to make sure your Estate Plan is in place and/or up to date.
We also understand that you may think the cost of an Estate Plan will be too great. In truth, the cost of not planning is much greater than the cost to develop an Estate Plan. Nevertheless, The Kueser Law Firm has flexible billing options and reasonable rates. Our goal is to make Estate Planning affordable for as many people as possible.
To speak with an attorney about Estate Planning, please call us at (816) 374-5865. Or you can also complete the form below and a Lees Summit Estate Planning attorney will contact you. In addition, our Resource Center contains additional information about Estate Planning.