Senior Couple Planning Their Investments with Financial Advisor

Why Estate Planning Is Important 

CornerStone Law, LLC Nov. 18, 2022

People often overlook the importance of estate planning. However, estate planning is one of the most important things you can do to ensure your loved ones are taken care of after your passing. In addition, creating an estate plan will ensure that all of your wishes will be followed, and it will avoid any disputes that arise during the probate process.   

If you or a family member is seeking an estate planning attorney, contact my firm, CornerStone Law, LLC, for legal assistance. I have the resources, knowledge, and experience to direct you through the estate planning process. I proudly serve clients in Newton, Wichita, Hutchinson, El Dorado, McPherson, and Hillsboro, Kansas. 

The Significance of Estate Planning 

Estate planning is important in Newton, Kansas, and neighboring areas (Wichita, Hutchinson, El Dorado, McPherson, and Hillsboro) for the following reasons: 

  • Estate planning protects your loved ones. 

A carefully crafted estate plan protects family, friends, and other beneficiaries after your passing. You can ensure your loved ones receive their fair share of your assets. 

  • Estate planning protects your assets. 

An estate plan allows you to avoid costly, time-consuming legal processes (probate) for your loved ones. Also, you can protect your assets from creditors, ensuring your beneficiaries get what they deserve. 

  • Estate planning protects your right to choose who makes decisions. 

An estate plan enables you to name an executor and family members to make life-or-death decisions. A well-crafted estate plan protects your loved ones during some of the most difficult moments they will face. 

What Happens When Someone Dies Without an Estate Plan? 

The asset distribution process must go through probate when someone dies intestate or without an estate plan. 

  • What is probate?  

In Newton, Kansas (also in other areas such as Harvey, Saline, Marion, Butler, Sedgwick, Reno, McPherson, and Cowley counties), dying intestate means the court will name an adult such as a child or spouse as executor of the estate. Then, the representative must itemize all assets (property, cash, investments, and debts). Once the court deems all steps have been met, it will authorize the distribution of the assets. 

Please note that the probate process takes at least four months to allow creditors to file claims. Creditors get the first crack at the estate’s assets before rightful beneficiaries can claim assets. 

  • What Are Kansas’s Intestate Succession Rules?  

In general, dying intestate means your assets must go through Kansas’s intestate succession rules. Here’s an overview. 

If you die with:  

  • Children but no spouse, the children get everything. 

  • A spouse but no children, the spouse gets everything. 

  • A spouse and children, the spouse gets half while the children get the other half. 

  • Living parents but no spouse or children, the parents get everything. 

  • Living siblings but no spouse, children, or parents, the siblings get everything. 

Please note that you can avoid the entire probate process by drafting a will or living trust. Upon your passing, your beneficiaries have six months to file the will with the probate court. The will goes through the process as part of standard procedure. Ultimately, your beneficiaries can sidestep the entire probate process. 

Who Should Have an Estate Plan? 

The short answer is everyone should have an estate plan. In particular, people with properties, investments, cash, and other valuables should draft an estate plan, will, or living trust in Newton, Kansas.   

It is worth noting that estates valued at less than $25,000 and mostly comprised of personal belongings do not need to go through the probate process in Kansas. Family members can file for informal probate. 

Finding the Right Estate Planning Attorney

CornerStone Law, LLC is a trusted estate planning firm in Newton, Kansas, that serves clients in Harvey, Saline, Marion, Butler, Sedgwick, Reno, McPherson, and Cowley counties. My firm, CornerStone Law, LLC, provides unparalleled service and legal advice. If you are looking to plan your estate, contact me for clear legal direction. I am standing by to give you the peace of mind you deserve.