Estate Planning
Estate Planning
Estate Planning is never anyone's favorite topic. However, it is an important protection for you and your family. You never know when you could have an accident, health issue, or a premature passing Another reason to create your Estate Plan is that it gives you an opportunity to share memories with your family by setting aside certain objects or property to each family member. Often there is a memory tied up with an object. When you set that asset aside to a particular person, it triggers the memory and connects you with that loved one for another moment even after you are no longer physically with them. This also reminds the person that you too remember the memory and treasured your time with them. 

We can help you meet your goals of protecting your assets, making life easier for the individual who will have to do the work to probate your estate, and sharing your memories with friends and family.
Last Will & Testament
In Missouri, you must have a written, signed and notarized Last Will and Testament. The law does allow you to add a list of personal property to be distributed so long as it is written, signed and dated. This can be done even after the Last Will and Testament is completed. While the goal of most people is to avoid probate, the Last Will and Testament is needed in case there are loose ends or if you have a more complicated family situation. If you have minor children, you will want to name a guardian as well. 

Often there is one asset that is forgotten and it tends to be a vehicle that does not have a Transfer on Death on the title. Further, in Missouri, you can allow your Personal Representative to serve Independently which means that the Probate Court would allow the Personal do accomplish many of the tasks necessary to gather and distribute the assets without Court permission. The Personal Representative would then only need to file for their Letters to officially grant them permission to move forward and an accounting to the court of the distributions. All heirs would need to grant permission for Independent Administration and sign off on the final settlement.  

Durable Power of Attorney
A Durable Power of Attorney gives legal authority for another person to stand in the place of the individual and take care of their finances and/or health care decisions. You can give the person authority to act immediately or wait until one (or two) doctors make a determination you are incompetent. The incompetency could be for a short period of time like in the situation of an accident, stroke, or other medical emergency where you are not able to communicate your medical decisions or take care of your finances. If you become permanently incompetent, the powers are in place until the time of your death. 

This power can be given before incompetency if you just need some help with finances or you want a spouse or other family member to be given access to you medical provider and/or records to help make decisions. You have control over when the powers kick into gear and you can revoke them if you change your mind. The biggest decisions to make is if you want food and hydration removed if you no longer have a quality of life. We can talk with you about the different options to help you determine how we can tailor the document to your wants and needs.  

Beneficiary Deed
A beneficiary deed allows you to legally transfer your home or other real property immediately at death without the need for probate. This is a good option as long as there is one person receiving the property and they can refinance the property if needed. If there are more than one person receiving the property, you have to determine the ability of the Parties to work together along with other considerations. This is a good thing to discuss with your attorney to help you determine if this is the best method to transfer ownership of your home.  

For our EBook on Estate Planning, click below.
Trusts
Trusts are the best option when (1) the Party has significant assets and/or (2) the family situation of the Party is complicated and a straight division is not the goal of the Party. Probate bases it's costs on the value of the estate. To avoid spending too much money in probate, a trust can be created. Further, with a trust, you do not need to wait to begin administration of the trust. The Trust begins at creation and benefits the individual and subsequent beneficiaries after the individual has passed. The reasons and structure of a trust can be complicated and if you think this option might be what you need, it is important to have a consultation with an attorney.  

Why Choose Us?
Law In Kansas City really does have that unique perspective on sharing memories with your family. This can be just as important for most people as leaving some money or property to their family. After many years of practice, we can help you avoid the pitfalls of complicated family relationships and help you determine the best way for family to move past your death. We can also help you make sure that your wishes are carried out if you are incapacitated and cannot articulate your health care decisions.  
Let's Work Together
Let's Work Together
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