Estate Planning Documents
The following areas are important estate planning elements that you should discuss with an experienced estate planning attorney:
A will outlines the distribution of your property and assets and specifies care for your children after you die. To be valid, Kansas wills must be updated if your situation changes, such as getting married or having children. If you die without a will, referred to as “intestate,” you don’t get to decide how your estate is divided. The law divides your estate between your spouse and children. If you have neither a spouse nor heirs, the state will keep your estate.
A trust is a document that establishes a relationship in which one person, named a trustee, holds legal title to property or assets for another person, named a beneficiary. You can be the trustee of your own living trust, keeping full control over all property held in trust until your death or incapacitation. Trusts are beneficial in that they allow your loved ones to acquire your assets without having to go through probate.
Powers of Attorney
There are different types of powers of attorney but in general, it allows you to grant someone the power to transact business, manage your finances, or make healthcare decisions if you are incapacitated. Powers of attorney can be general or very specific, for example, giving someone the power only to manage your investments if you are unable to.
Advanced Healthcare Directive
Also known as a “living will,” this document specifies your wishes regarding your healthcare treatment if you are unable to communicate those decisions due to incapacitation. Specifying your wishes now will help your loved ones honor your decisions and be your voice later.
Special Needs Planning
If you have a child, spouse, or other dependents with physical, developmental, or emotional challenges, your estate plan should provide for their ongoing care after you’re gone. A special needs trust funds a dependent’s ongoing care and helps preserve their benefits such as Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security Disability.
Other important elements of an estate plan may include HIPAA releases, beneficiary designations, and letters of intent in which you specify things such as your funeral arrangements.
Get Help From a Skilled
Estate Planning Attorney
Don’t leave important decisions such as the designation of your assets or your healthcare in the hands of others or even the state. You’ve worked hard to build your life and you should have a voice in how it’s cared for. It's never too early to put a plan in place that outlines your wishes and prepares for the future.
An estate plan is only effective when it follows the requirements of the law. Working with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney will give you the peace of mind that your wishes will be honored.