Estate planning should not be put off another day.
Are you putting off estate planning until you are in retirement?
Procrastinating in this area of your life is a dangerous game to play.
You would really want to leave your loved ones with a mess to sort through.
If you have children, you will leave them vulnerable.
Whether you have a lot or a little, you need to plan now.
According to a recent Chicago Tribune article titled “5 essential steps of estate planning,” you should be thinking about several things to create an estate plan to meet your needs later.
What are they?
First, you need to know what you have.
Make a list.
Once you have this list, write down how you want the listed items to be divided.
You will also need to designate the individual to execute your wishes.
Explore your options in estate planning.
Estate planning is best not left to a cookie-cutter approach.
People are different.
Do you want a will?
These items will be probated in order to be distributed.
Should you have a living trust?
You can be the trustee while alive and well.
If you become incapacitated the successor trustee will assume control without going through probate.
You can even title assets to the trust to avoid them going through probate.
Make health care decisions.
Even the healthiest individuals fall seriously ill or can become the victims of accidents.
What will happen if you are incapacitated and cannot express your wishes yourself?
This is where an advance health care directive comes in.
With a an advance health care directive (i.e., a health care treatment directive and durable power of attorney for health care decisions), you can legally detail your wishes regarding treatment you would or would not like to receive ... as well as designate who will go to bat for you.
As part of the process, you can also indicate whether you would like to be an organ donor.
Plan your funeral.
Consider how you would like to be buried and remembered.
Record your wishes somewhere other than your will so they can be followed immediately.
Feel free to download this complimentary "My Last Wishes" form from our website for this very purpose.
Work with an experienced estate planning attorney.
Do not do this alone.
Any mistake is costly and will go unnoticed until it is too late.
An experienced estate planning attorney can help create a plan to meet your specific goals and needs.
After the plan is created, you will need to ensure everything is in order, signed, titled and funded.
Communicate your plan to your family as well
So, how do you find an "experienced" estate planning attorney?
First, ask around. Friends, family and other professional advisors are trustworthy sources.
Second, conduct an "organic" search on "Google" for "estate planning" near you (e.g., "Estate Planning Anytown MoKan").
Third, either way, verify! Check out the education, experience, ratings and client reviews of any attorney before you contact him or her.
In fact, I use both of these services to thoroughly vett attorneys before referring members of our "client" family for legal help in other areas of law or for matters in jurisdictions outside Kansas or Missouri.
Remember: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” When making your financial, tax and estate plans, do not go it alone. Be sure to engage competent professional counsel.
For more information about estate planning in Overland Park, KS (and throughout the rest of Kansas and Missouri), visit our estate planning website and be sure to subscribe to our complimentary estate planning e-newsletter while you are there.
Reference: Chicago Tribune (May 8, 2017) “5 essential steps of estate planning”