Estate planning is important no matter your income or net worth.
Only the wealthy need wills?
It is a great myth.
Do not believe it.
According to a recent CNBC article titled “You don’t have to be wealthy to put this estate plan into place,” not having an estate plan is a dangerous decision.
You need a will to ensure your wishes are met after you pass away.
If you die without a will, your estate may be divided according to the laws of your state.
This means someone you did not intend to inherit from you may do just that.
The beneficiaries may also receive more or less than you would have allotted.
If you have minor children, you need a will to nominate a guardian should you and your spouse die.
Chances are you want someone with similar values to rear them, yes?
A will is only a part of an estate plan.
You also need to make sure beneficiary designations on any retirement accounts or life insurance policies are updated.
These designations override any stipulations you may make in your will.
There are also a few documents through which you need to assign essential powers and authorities should you become incapacitated.
These include an advance health care directive and a general durable power of attorney.
What do these do?
Through the health care treatment directive component of your advance health care directive you can provide instructions regarding what treatments you would like (or not like) should you be unable to communicate your own preferences when relevant.
In addition, the advance health care directive also contains a durable power of attorney for health care decisions allowing you to appoint the decision-makers of your own choosing.
The general durable power of attorney give someone of your own selection the power to oversee your finances should you be unable to do so.
As you can see, having no estate plan is a dangerous move.
Work with an experienced estate planning attorney to ensure your loved ones and your assets are protected.
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: CNBC (August 8, 2018) “You don’t have to be wealthy to put this estate plan into place”