Estate planning is key to avoiding a big legal and financial mess for your family after you pass.
It does not sound like fun.
But it is important.
According to a recent Wealth Advisor article titled “The 3 Reasons Why People Do Estate Planning,” the majority of Americans do not make this a priority.
At the very least, you will need a last will and testament to help direct the distribution of your assets.
You should work with an experienced estate planning attorney.
There may be separate estate taxes and even inheritance taxers for your state.
Fortunately, for Kansas and Missouri residents this is not the case.
A plan to reduce these taxes will look different from one state to the other.
You will want to work with an experienced attorney who can walk you through the laws of your state and the options you have to reduce fees or taxes.
If you are considering Medicaid to help pay for future nursing home expenses, you should know there is an asset spend down requirement.
By planning early, you may be able to protect your assets or avoid the need to apply for Medicaid.
An elder law attorney is the right go-to professional when it comes to any Medicaid matters.
Control your estate
Do you know how you want your estate to be managed and divided?
You will need a valid estate plan to accomplish your wishes.
If you do not, your estate may be distributed according to the laws of the state where you died a resident.
Not having a plan in place will also create more headaches for your family.
Do not do this.
Instead, work with an experienced estate planning attorney to create a plan to meet your specific goals.
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: Wealth Advisor (May 29, 2018) “The 3 Reasons Why People Do Estate Planning”