No matter your age, health, or position in life, it is always a good idea to plan ahead for what will happen to your assets and property after your death. Passing away without a will can have catastrophic and legally complex consequences for your loved one. Even if you have a will drafted, there are a lot of additional documents and tools that could be essential to ensuring your final wishes are upheld.
However, making an estate plan can be an overwhelming endeavor if you have never given thought to these matters before, and especially if you try to go through it without help from a well-practiced attorney. Once retained, an experienced Manhattan estate planning lawyer could guide you through every stage of this process and work with you to craft a plan that protects your best interests.
What Should Go into a Comprehensive Estate Plan?
Before even thinking about any other element of their estate plan, the first thing anyone creating an end-of-life plan should do is craft a last will and testament. This document is the essential foundation of every estate plan, and the instructions therein will supersede all other directives from other parts of the estate plan if there is any confusion over their meaning or intent.
That being said, an estate plan can—and very often should—include a number of additional documents beyond just a will. For example, an estate plan should include a “living will,” also known as an “advance directive,” dictating what end-of-life care a testator wants in the event they become incapacitated prior to their death. Estate plans should also include documents granting power of attorney over healthcare and/or financial decisions to trusted individuals under the same circumstances.
Additionally, it may be beneficial to place certain assets into a trust in order to simplify the probate process and potentially minimize tax obligations, among various other possible benefits. An estate planning lawyer in Manhattan could go into further detail about what type of trust may be best for a particular person.
CRAFTING THE PERFECT ESTATE PLAN
The documents we customize for each client plan for the assets and health of our client. First, we make certain if you cannot make your health decisions or financial decisions prior to your death, you have a durable power of attorney in place. By doing so you will avoid a guardianship or conservatorship proceeding. We understand the concern you may feel in selecting guardians for your children and lawyers in fact to make your decisions. We’ll walk you through these decisions as well as those you can make in advance through a living will for health decisions, and a will or trust for your assets.
Next, we craft your will to name an executor should you need someone to represent your interests in court after your death in order to transfer the assets you own to beneficiaries. Your estate plan may also include a Revocable Trust, which can be amended at any time until your death. This document states your wishes for the plan of distribution of your assets when you are living and acting as the trustee, when you can no longer make your decisions and following your death. Because the terms of a revocable trust can provide asset protection for your beneficiaries, we believe the revocable trust is one of the best gifts you will give your loved ones.
The revocable trust may have provisions for the special needs of a loved one, for charity, for pets and for the timing of distributions. It often provides if a beneficiary does not want land, the other beneficiaries may buy the inherited share at a formula price providing cash to the other beneficiary. The trust is the most customized document we draft. We are often asked about Irrevocable Trusts to protect assets or avoid estate tax, succession farming or business entities, promissory notes between family members and gifting strategies.
ESTATE PLANNING SERVICES IN MANHATTAN, KS
In addition to everything listed previously, we also offer the following services to help with your estate planning needs:
- Advanced Medical Directives
- Charitable Giving
- Estate Administration
- Family and Small Business Planning
- Federal Estate, Gift & Generation Skipping Tax Planning
- Last Will and Testaments
- Nonqualified Deferred Compensation
- Powers of Attorney
- Preservation of Wealth
- Tax Deferred Exchanges
- Transaction Structuring and Tax Planning
- Trust Administration
- Trust Agreements
The Risks of Skipping Estate Planning
While it can certainly be tempting to put estate planning off until much later in life, when the directives an estate plan would contain might seem more immediately relevant. However, estate planning is always better accomplished sooner rather than later to ensure that a sudden accident or illness does not prevent a testator from providing instructions for end-of-life care.
Perhaps even more importantly, when someone passes away in the state of Kansas without a valid will, their property goes to their surviving family members based on the laws of intestate succession, which can lead to unsatisfactory outcomes for everyone involved. In short, estate planning is an essential part of preparing for the future and seeking help from an estate planning lawyer in Manhattan can make it a relatively painless and straightforward process.
Talk with a Manhattan Estate Planning Attorney Today
Due to how important an estate plan is, it is highly recommended that you enlist the services of an experienced attorney to help you draft these documents. There are a number of legal requirements and restrictions that you must adhere to if you want to make sure the documents in your estate plan are enforceable, as even a small mistake could have drastic consequences for your beneficiaries and family members.
A Manhattan estate planning lawyer could help minimize stress and maximize the efficacy of your estate plan. Call today to learn more.