Do not believe everything you hear, especially when it comes to estate planning.
Do you have a well-meaning family member or friend telling you what to do with your estate plan?
Do not trust them.
They mean well.
But you really need to discuss your needs with an experienced estate planning attorney.
Having your facts straight will enable you to leave your affairs in order for your loved ones.
According to a recent article in The Treasure Coast Palm titled “Common misconceptions about wills and trusts,” estate planning myths could get you into trouble.
What are some of the most common myths?
Rather than avoiding probate, your will directs your probate proceedings.
Probate is merely the court process of legally passing along your property.
If you die without a will, the state may decide who gets what.
This can be a much longer and more expensive process, too.
A will is a cheaper more efficient way of passing your estate through probate.
To avoid probate, you will need an alternative plan like maximizing beneficiary designation arrangements or perhaps even a revocable living trust.
You only need an estate plan if your assets total more than the Federal Tax Exemption.
Did you know you can pass $5.49 milli0n in assets to your beneficiaries without being taxed at the federal level.
Some states have their own estate taxes levied at your death.
Fortunately, neither Kansas nor Missouri have their own estate taxes.
Without an estate plan, your assets will be probated according to the rules or your state rather than your own wishes.
A revocable living trust will limit how I can use my assets while alive.
If prepared by an experienced estate planning attorney, your revocable living trust can be amended or revoked by you during your lifetime.
The trustee controls all assets in the trust.
If you are trustee, you still have full power.
As you can tell, not all estate planning information is trustworthy information.
Do you want to avoid costly mistakes?
Work with an experienced estate planning attorney to create the best estate plan for your needs.
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: Treasure Coast Palm (December 2, 2016) “Common misconceptions about wills and trusts”