Regardless of your position in life, having an estate plan is important. Many people believe the only reason to have an estate plan is to ensure their property is distributed upon their death. This is a common misnomer, an estate plan may also address your needs should you suffer a disability or illness that leaves you incapable of making decisions for yourself.
Disability & Illness Preparation
While most of us do not like to think about the potential of being physically disabled, an accident or illness can happen at any time. This means you must be prepared to make sure that your affairs are taken care of in the event you are unable to communicate with family or your medical team. We can help craft a medical power of attorney ensuring someone you trust has the authority to make medical decisions for you.
Another important document that will be necessary should you be unable to handle your own affairs is a financial power of attorney. Written correctly, this gives someone you trust the ability to make financial decisions on your behalf. We can limit the authority to change beneficiaries, sell assets, or transfer assets if you wish to do so or we can give the designee the authority to act as they believe you would.
Finally, having a living will provides your loved ones with information about your care. This document clearly defines your wishes for ongoing medical care, your end of life wishes, and your preference for resuscitation when appropriate. We understand these are very personal decisions and you do not want someone making them on your behalf.
Wills & Trusts
Preparation of an estate plan is important to make sure your assets are distributed in accordance with your wishes. There are numerous considerations which must be addressed including the distribution of personal property, the sale of your assets, and when applicable, the care of your minor children.
In Kansas, if you prepare a will, you can designate who will care for your minor children and specify how your property is to be distributed. Some property, such as life insurance policies and retirement accounts have beneficiaries assigned to them. Jointly held property such as bank accounts or real estate will become the property of the joint owner in the event of your death. However, all other property will be distributed in accordance with Kansas law if you do not have a will in place.
For those who wish to avoid the probate process, or have complicated estates, a trust may be a better option. To be most effective, you transfer assets into the trust during your lifetime and upon your death or disability, a successor trustee carries out the terms of the trust. Because a trust is not subject to probate, it is also private unlike a will which becomes public once probated.
We understand estate planning is very personal and that every person has their own preferences which is why we customize every estate plan we work on. Contact Bray Law Office and set up and appointment at our Overland Park, Kansas office today and let us help you with all your estate planning needs.