If you want estate planning done right, then do not do it yourself.
Are you living and breathing?
If so, you need an estate plan.
Unfortunately most people live in denial of this fact of life.
According to a recent Dough Roller article titled “The Truth About Why You Need a Last Will and Testament,” you need do more than merely tell a family member your wishes.
A will is invaluable.
You declare beneficiaries, select an executor, can name guardians for your minor children, and arrange for "testamentary trusts" to protect their inheritance for them and from them.
You likely also have assets outside of the purview of your will, too.
- Checking accounts with “payable-on-death” beneficiaries
- Insurance policy payouts
- Property with joint tenancy with rights of survivorship
- Retirement accounts
In addition to asset distribution, you will likely want and need a durable power of attorney designating someone your trust to make financial should you become incapacitated. Same goes for your health care decisions, except that would require an advance health care directive (that includes a durable power of attorney for health care decisions).
Does the will not do this?
A will only has teeth after your death.
Estate planning is multifaceted and constantly changing.
As such, online or do-it-yourself documents become outdated ... or are not customized to your unique needs.
In addition, you may never know whether a change in law affected your plan as time passes.
Work with an experienced estate planning attorney to create a specific and comprehensive estate plan to fit your needs, then review it with him or her periodically for any necessary updates.
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: Dough Roller (July 29, 2017) “The Truth About Why You Need a Last Will and Testament”