Gardner, Kansas Estate Planning Attorneys Answer Your Frequently Asked Estate Planning Questions
Explaining estate planning: it's more than disposing assets
Estate plans distribute assets and gifts on death according to the wishes of the deceased. However, plans incorporate more than transferring real and personal property. A thoughtful estate plan addresses your lifetime goals and end-of-life wishes.
A sound estate plan results from the appropriate reflection and review of your wishes upon death. After review, you need to evaluate your financial status, family relationships, health, and other personal factors. Only then can the estate planning lawyer's work begin.
The Gardner estate planning lawyers at Stockton & Stern LLC are highly skilled in developing unique, custom plans for end-of-life care and issues. To give you a better idea of what our estate planners do, we've put together common questions and answers:
- What is estate planning?
- What is included in an estate plan?
- What is a revocable trust?
- What do I bring to an estate plan?
- What do estate planning lawyers do?
· When the estate plan is done, are you done with me?
What is estate planning?
Besides distributing assets and gifts upon your death, an estate plan ensures your choice of persons to make financial and healthcare decisions if you are unable to do so. The program will appoint your choice of guardians for any minor children and select a representative of your choosing to administer the estate and wind up your affairs.
Without an estate plan, a court may determine who controls your assets and makes healthcare decisions if you are unable to make them. And a court will distribute your assets according to the law and appoint its administrator to handle your estate. When a court manages your estate, the process is long and costly – expending and extinguishing assets that would otherwise be gifted to loved ones.
What is included in an estate plan?
An estate plan includes documents that contain a plan to dispose of your property. The plan consists of a last will and testament and administrative provisions. It will detail how debts are paid and how estate taxes, if any, are paid and by whom. The plan will name a personal representative and delegate to him or her the power to administer your estate.
If the last will and testament is the primary document, it will contain your specific gifts to beneficiaries. It will detail who gets what property and when the wealth is distributed. If a revocable trust is the primary document, the last will and testament has a "pourover" provision to transfer the estate to the trust, which then distributes your assets according to your wishes.
Estate plans also includes provisions to:
- Ensure minor children who survive you are raised as you wish
- Protect your assets from creditors and lawsuits
- Ensure the privacy of your financial affairs and family information
- Leave a lasting memory and benefit to society
Our Gardner estate planning lawyers listen carefully to your concerns and goals and note your family relationships. We collaborate with accountants, financial planners, tax professionals, and insurance agents. Then we draft custom, comprehensive plans to accomplish your wishes.
What is a revocable trust?
A trust is a legal document that places a property interest in your disposable assets in one person or entity (trustee) at your request, for the benefit of your beneficiaries. A revocable trust is one you can terminate in your lifetime and recover any undistributed assets or income.
What do I bring to an estate plan?
You bring everything to an estate plan. Experienced estate planning attorneys will provide you a form to complete that documents, among other things:
- What property you own
- Who the beneficiaries will be
- Which heirs can handle money
- What debts are owed
What do estate planning lawyers do?
Estate planning lawyers explain the tax impact of various estate plans, alternate plans to dispose of your property to protect beneficiaries, and whom to consider as executor and trustee. The lawyer helps you choose the best strategy to meet your personal goals and financial objectives and discusses the steps the client needs to take to execute the plan. For example, a trust will have no effect if the client doesn't transfer assets into it.
When the estate plan is done, are you done with me?
Only if you're done with us. Otherwise, Stockton and Stern estate planning lawyers are committed to serving as your "counselors for life." Our representation doesn't end with the estate plan – it begins. We offer free, annual estate plan reviews to ensure your plans keep up with the changes in your life.
Contact a Kansas estate planning lawyer to settle your end-of-life concerns
For more information on settling life and end-of-life concerns and issues, contact Stockton & Stern LLC estate planning lawyers. We are meticulous in detailing your wishes and passionate about carrying out your life's goals . Contact us online or by calling (913) 856-2828 today for a free consultation. We are in Gardner at 952 East Lincoln Lane and can meet you in Leawood and Overland Park by appointment.