Getting Started in Estate Planning

Estate Planning – How to Start

One of the hardest things to know how to do is how to get started when thinking about your Legacy Plan.  One of the things that we try to do here in Leawood is to get people just to start with the first step – which is usually who they want to get their stuff.  “Stuff” seems to be easier to deal with than other issues, like who they want to take care of them if they have an accident or become infirm.  Then, we just take it step by step.  See the article below for more.

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Estate Planning: How to get started

Daunting is one way to describe estate planning, said Heather Gessner, SDSU Extension Livestock Business Management Field Specialist.

“This is one reason farm families have avoided implementing a plan for their farms and families,” said Gessner.

However, even though it may seem daunting, estate planning is essential to the future of family farms and ranch operations. Below, Gessner breaks the process down – making this important task easier to tackle.

“The most daunting tasks can be accomplished if they are looked at in smaller components,” Gessner said. “Breaking the estate planning process down into these five components will help keep the task manageable and thus lead to the creation of a plan that accomplishes the goals of both the family and farm operation.”

Break down the process

“The big thing to remember about estate planning is that it is a process,” Gessner said. “It is more marathon than sprint, and each family needs to work at it and be committed to its creation to ensure a written plan is in place when it is needed.”

The process can be broken into five steps:

  1.  Initiate the discussion
  2. Develop your objectives
  3. Compile your information
  4. Seek professional advice
  5. Keep things updated

Initiate the discussion

If you are thinking of the next generation returning to the farm or ranch, communication, Gessner said, will be the lead component to successful estate and transition plans.

“Topics about death, transferring assets, economics, balance sheets, income and expenses and other topics are easy to avoid amid day to day discussions about crops and/or cattle,” she said, “but they need to be brought up.”

Opening the door to these topics can lead to the prevention of future problems and disagreement amongst surviving heirs. “When everyone is aware of the plan and the reasons behind the decisions that were made – a smooth transition to the next generation can occur,” Gessner said.

This process may also help solve current problems that had not been discussed among members of the family. These other problems could include discontentment about job duties and responsibility to changes that could be implemented on the farm.

“Holding a meeting to inform all family members about the goals of the plan may be one way to provide a platform to present your ideas for the farm and family,” Gessner explained.

This can also be a time for everyone involved to express feelings and expectations about the plan. At this time, Gessner encouraged participants to listen to any potential concerns or problems the family may have with what will be implemented and when. “Assumptions are the worst enemy of a family estate plan, and can lead to many problems,” she said.

While communication is a critical component to establishing a plan, Gessner said it is also important to keep respect in mind. “Parents are opening up about hard decisions and big plans related to the assets they have acquired through their own inheritance and/or hard work,” she said. “Coupling the goals they have for the farm and family is not an easy task.”

Both on-farm and off-farm children have had many new experiences and responsibilities since high school and/or college graduation, and need to utilize those experiences to ensure the goals of the family and farm are met.

“At the end of the day the farm is still under the ownership of the senior generation and they can do with it what they want,” Gessner said. “Allowing the children to express their opinion and ideas should be respected.”

List your objectives

Just like a high school basketball team setting a goal of getting to the state tournament and then creating objectives to get there, Gessner said the family and farm need to have clear goals for the future.

The article, Estate Planning, More than Tax Planning discusses the creation of goals for the farm and family further in depth and can be found on the iGrow Livestock community under the Profit Tips page.

The goals and objectives for the farm and family are the directions the estate professionals will use to ensure the correct tools are implemented for each family.

Compile your information

Information is king, and as it relates to your estate plan, Gessner said having all of your personal and business information compiled and organized will save time and money. “Since all assets need to be included in the written plan, a list of land, machinery, stocks, retirement accounts, bank accounts, etc., as well as a list of liens, mortgages and other liabilities needs to be compiled,” she said.

While not an easy task, you can replace missing legal documents. Replacing Legal and Financial Documents in South Dakota can be found by visitingiGrow.

Choose Professional Advisors

“Your advisors are a critical component to the creation of a successful estate plan and need to work with your best interests in mind,” Gessner said.

She added that they also need to work with each other to ensure the tools implemented work together to accomplish your goals.

An estate planning attorney is essential for your estate plan. Choosing an individual or firm that works predominately with estates and has a working knowledge about agricultural estates is highly recommended.

Other advisors may include a tax consultant/preparer, life and/or long term care insurance agent, financial planners, and funeral home director. The team will be unique to the family and the tools utilized to achieve the goals developed.

 Estate Planning Lawyers in Leawood

Estate Planning is really about peace of mind. What estate planning is all about is discovering the right tools to execute your basic needs. What that means is that we utilize the most innovative legal documents to appropriately implement your desires. We personalize each and every strategy so that you get exactly what you want. We do this using the most recent tools so that we can prepare a personalized strategy at the lowest possible cost. Please call us today with any questions.
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The Eastman Law Firm is an estate planning law firm. We concentrate on estate planning so that you can be assured that you are getting the most up to date strategies.

http://ift.tt/1JU4Bfo


The Eastman Law Firm
Estate planning attorneys, focusing on Wills, Trusts and Probate law.
4901 W. 136th Street, Ste. 240
Leawood
KANSAS (KS)
66224
United States

Phone: (913) 908-9113

Hours:
Mon-Sat 8am – 5:30pm

See our directory page here and here.

Charitable Giving Reduces Your Tax Burden

Cutting Taxes Through Estate Planning

We help out a lot of clients preparing for their estate plan, including charitable gifts, here in Leawood.  Many times, our clients want to create a legacy where they gift a good sum of funds to certain charities.  We work with them to help them reduce their tax burden along with their estate plan.

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Estate planning for charity helps cut taxes

Legacy Foundation, Lake County’s Community Foundation, offers donors a number of giving options to help them meet their charitable goals. The easiest is through a bequest or, simply put, a will. But, there are a couple of central questions the donor needs to answer, including, “What assets should I leave?”

Recently I met with a Lake County donor I will call Ed. Ed was planning to leave a bequest to Legacy Foundation through his will. He was interested in fostering programs that benefit his neighborhood but also educational programs that teach children about protection of our environment.

Ed wanted to make an initial gift before his death so he could see his charitable dollars at work while he was still living. So with an initial contribution Ed made that day, we established a permanent fund in his name. He designated several not-for-profits he wanted to support which would receive annual distributions from the fund during his lifetime.

Separately, in conversations with his attorney, Ed has directed in his will that upon his death whatever is remaining in his IRA will come directly to his fund at Legacy.Those same programs he designated for support during his lifetime will receive perpetual support long after he is gone.

What are the benefits of Ed’s decision?

First, Ed will receive a charitable tax donation for his initial gift and see his gift in action. However, just as importantly, bequests from IRAs and qualified retirement plans represent a donor’s charitable gift asset with the best tax advantage. The full value of IRAs (and other qualified retirement plans) is subject to state and/or federal estate taxes. These taxes, which can go as high as 40 percent, will be due when distributions to individual heirs are taken and calculated into the estate’s income.
By gifting the assets in an IRA or a qualified retirement plan to a charity, the estate avoids creating a tax liability for the family members or other individual beneficiaries. Legacy Foundation and other community foundations do not pay income taxes and keep every dollar donated directly from an IRA bequest. That means contributions will not be reduced by taxes and will be available for causes the donor wants to support.

Ed will continue to receive his annual distribution from his IRA during his lifetime. Naming his fund at Legacy Foundation as the beneficiary of his IRA will not affect the required amount he will receive when he is 70 1/2 years old. Once he passes away, whatever amount is remaining in his IRA will be directed to the fund he established while he was still living.

An important point is that his will specifically directs his fund at Legacy Foundation to receive the assets in his IRA. By doing so his estate will qualify for a charitable tax deduction, and other assets he owns can be distributed to his heirs without this significant tax implication.

 Estate Planning Lawyers in Leawood

Estate Planning is all about assurance. What estate planning is all about is finding the right tools to execute your basic needs. What that means is that we make use of the most sophisticated legal documents to appropriately implement your desires. We customize each and every plan so that you get exactly what you desire. We do this utilizing the most current tools so that we can prepare a personalized strategy at the most affordable possible cost. Kindly call us today with any concerns.
http://ift.tt/1Ums7Tq
The Eastman Law Firm is an estate planning law firm. We concentrate on estate planning so that you can be ensured that you are getting the most up to date strategies. We train thoroughly so that we can offer the specific right match for your desires and desires. We don’t force everybody into a single mold. Instead, we attempt and make certain that everybody is treated with the most customized solution that best meets their needs.

http://ift.tt/1JU4Bfo


The Eastman Law Firm
Estate planning attorneys, focusing on Wills, Trusts and Probate law.
4901 W. 136th Street, Ste. 240
Leawood
KANSAS (KS)
66224
United States

Phone: (913) 908-9113

Hours:
Mon-Sat 8am – 5:30pm

See our directory page here and here.

Stopping Identity Theft – After Death

How to Protect a Deceased Person from Identity Theft

We help out a lot of clients preparing for their estate plan here in Leawood.  However, we also help out clients that need to go through the probate process.  Still, we can often forget that fraud can occur to anyone and that includes the deceased.  It’s an incredibly burden to deal with identity theft – and more so if you are doubly burdened by the probate process.

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6 Tips for Protecting a Deceased Person from Identity Theft

By: Sanford M. Fisch, CEO & Co-Founder, American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Co-Author of The E-Myth Attorney Posted in Client Services, Estate Planning

Identity thieves are targeting deceased persons by using their Social Security number and name to open up new credit cards, apply for loans, file tax returns and collect tax refunds, and obtain other goods and services such as cell phones. Approximately 2.5 million fraudulent accounts are established each year by identity thieves. Out of those, approximately 800,000, or 2,200 a day, are targeted intentionally by these thieves. The remaining accounts are a result of a random selection of numbers that happen to be an exact match to a decedent.

One of the easiest ways for identity thieves to obtain a decedent’s name and other information is by getting the information from obituary announcements and other print or online sources that contain death announcements. For as little as $10.00, thieves can also obtain a deceased person’s Social Security number illegally on the Internet and start opening credit card and bank accounts. Thieves know once a person passes away, there is a slim chance any family members are monitoring the decedent’s credit report.

As part of the estate administration, it is a good strategy for estate practitioners to include a checklist for executors or personal representatives advising them on how to ensure their deceased love one is not the target of identity theft.

Here are six tips that can be considered to help families protect the decedent’s personal information from getting into the wrong hands:

  1. Starting with obituaries- the announcement should limit information to the decedent’s name and refrain from giving out personal information such as the decedent’s address or mother’s maiden name. This makes it harder for the thief to get the Social Security number of the decedent and protects the decedent’s house from getting robbed the day of the funeral. You would be surprised at the number of decedents whose homes are robbed shortly after their deaths.
  2. Another good tip is for the personal representative or family member to write or call the Social Security office at (800) 772-1213 and advise them of the date of the decedent’s death. The same should be done with the IRS, in addition to filing any required estate returns. Since it may take the IRS and the Social Security office up to six months to update their records after someone passes away in the normal course of their business, alerting them to the fact sooner will protect your loved one’s personal information and prevent fraud.
  3. Advising the decedent’s bank, other financial institutions, and creditors such as credit card companies and other debtors of the decedent’s death should be taken care of immediately. Requesting that any accounts held in the decedent’s name be closed as a result of the decedent’s death helps reduce the chance that someone might be tampering with the decedent’s financial accounts or opening new ones in the decedent’s name.
  4. The three national credit bureaus are: Equifax (800-685-1111), Experian (888-397-3742) and TransUnion (800-916-8800). Sending a certified copy of the decedent’s death certificate to these three credit bureaus and asking them to report that the decedent has died will stop thieves from opening credit cards in the decedent’s name.
    It is also a good idea to write to the DMV asking them to immediately cancel the decedent’s driver’s license as a precaution against thieves getting hold of the driver’s license number and using it to establish credit card accounts or take out loans using the decedent’s name.
  5. Family members should also contact police and make an identity theft report about any suspicious activity that has occurred with regard to a relative’s financial accounts.
  6. As an estate planning attorney, making family members and personal representatives of estates aware of the importance of advising government and financial institutions immediately of a loved one’s death is the best protection you can give them against their loved one falling victim to an identity theft crime after they have passed away.

 Estate Planning Lawyers in Leawood

Estate Planning is all about assurance. What estate planning is everything about is discovering the right tools to execute your basic needs. What that implies is that we utilize the most sophisticated legal files to appropriately implement your desires. We personalize each and every plan so that you get precisely what you desire. We do this using the most up to date devices so that we can prepare a personalized strategy at the most affordable possible expense. Please call us today with any concerns.
http://ift.tt/1F35V9N
The Eastman Law Firm is an estate planning law firm. We focus on estate planning so that you can be ensured that you are getting the most up to date techniques.

http://ift.tt/1JU4Bfo


The Eastman Law Firm
Estate planning attorneys, focusing on Wills, Trusts and Probate law.
4901 W. 136th Street, Ste. 240
Leawood
KANSAS (KS)
66224
United States

Phone: (913) 908-9113

Hours:
Mon-Sat 8am – 5:30pm

See our directory page here and here.

Stopping Identity Theft – After Death

How to Protect a Deceased Person from Identity Theft

We help out a lot of clients preparing for their estate plan here in Leawood.  However, we also help out clients that need to go through the probate process.  Still, we can often forget that fraud can occur to anyone and that includes the deceased.  It’s an incredibly burden to deal with identity theft – and more so if you are doubly burdened by the probate process.

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See our Bitly page here.

Leawood estate planning attorneys

http://ift.tt/1KqnGGa

6 Tips for Protecting a Deceased Person from Identity Theft

By: Sanford M. Fisch, CEO & Co-Founder, American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Co-Author of The E-Myth Attorney Posted in Client Services, Estate Planning

Identity thieves are targeting deceased persons by using their Social Security number and name to open up new credit cards, apply for loans, file tax returns and collect tax refunds, and obtain other goods and services such as cell phones. Approximately 2.5 million fraudulent accounts are established each year by identity thieves. Out of those, approximately 800,000, or 2,200 a day, are targeted intentionally by these thieves. The remaining accounts are a result of a random selection of numbers that happen to be an exact match to a decedent.

One of the easiest ways for identity thieves to obtain a decedent’s name and other information is by getting the information from obituary announcements and other print or online sources that contain death announcements. For as little as $10.00, thieves can also obtain a deceased person’s Social Security number illegally on the Internet and start opening credit card and bank accounts. Thieves know once a person passes away, there is a slim chance any family members are monitoring the decedent’s credit report.

As part of the estate administration, it is a good strategy for estate practitioners to include a checklist for executors or personal representatives advising them on how to ensure their deceased love one is not the target of identity theft.

Here are six tips that can be considered to help families protect the decedent’s personal information from getting into the wrong hands:

  1. Starting with obituaries- the announcement should limit information to the decedent’s name and refrain from giving out personal information such as the decedent’s address or mother’s maiden name. This makes it harder for the thief to get the Social Security number of the decedent and protects the decedent’s house from getting robbed the day of the funeral. You would be surprised at the number of decedents whose homes are robbed shortly after their deaths.
  2. Another good tip is for the personal representative or family member to write or call the Social Security office at (800) 772-1213 and advise them of the date of the decedent’s death. The same should be done with the IRS, in addition to filing any required estate returns. Since it may take the IRS and the Social Security office up to six months to update their records after someone passes away in the normal course of their business, alerting them to the fact sooner will protect your loved one’s personal information and prevent fraud.
  3. Advising the decedent’s bank, other financial institutions, and creditors such as credit card companies and other debtors of the decedent’s death should be taken care of immediately. Requesting that any accounts held in the decedent’s name be closed as a result of the decedent’s death helps reduce the chance that someone might be tampering with the decedent’s financial accounts or opening new ones in the decedent’s name.
  4. The three national credit bureaus are: Equifax (800-685-1111), Experian (888-397-3742) and TransUnion (800-916-8800). Sending a certified copy of the decedent’s death certificate to these three credit bureaus and asking them to report that the decedent has died will stop thieves from opening credit cards in the decedent’s name.
    It is also a good idea to write to the DMV asking them to immediately cancel the decedent’s driver’s license as a precaution against thieves getting hold of the driver’s license number and using it to establish credit card accounts or take out loans using the decedent’s name.
  5. Family members should also contact police and make an identity theft report about any suspicious activity that has occurred with regard to a relative’s financial accounts.
  6. As an estate planning attorney, making family members and personal representatives of estates aware of the importance of advising government and financial institutions immediately of a loved one’s death is the best protection you can give them against their loved one falling victim to an identity theft crime after they have passed away.

 Estate Planning Lawyers in Leawood

Estate Planning is all about assurance. What estate planning is everything about is discovering the right tools to execute your basic needs. What that implies is that we utilize the most sophisticated legal files to appropriately implement your desires. We personalize each and every plan so that you get precisely what you desire. We do this using the most up to date devices so that we can prepare a personalized strategy at the most affordable possible expense. Please call us today with any concerns.
http://ift.tt/1F35V9N
The Eastman Law Firm is an estate planning law firm. We focus on estate planning so that you can be ensured that you are getting the most up to date techniques.

http://ift.tt/1JU4Bfo


The Eastman Law Firm
Estate planning attorneys, focusing on Wills, Trusts and Probate law.
4901 W. 136th Street, Ste. 240
Leawood
KANSAS (KS)
66224
United States

Phone: (913) 908-9113

Hours:
Mon-Sat 8am – 5:30pm

See our directory page here and here.

Stop Making Mistakes

How to Stop Making Estate Planning Mistakes

We say it all the time – the best way to learn is to make a mistake.  However, it is really nice to see when others also agree with this advice.  Please take a look at the article below.  Because, as we know,  estate planning mistakes in Leawood are all too easy to make.  This sounds easy and can avoid a lot of problems later.

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How can I Avoid (and Quit Making) Estate Planning Mistakes?

We all make mistakes, right? The key is to learn from them and not repeat them.

Even better learn from the mistakes of others. The biggest mistake to avoid is to avoid having an estate plan. Period. Curiously, a recent CNBC survey found that 38% of folks who have investable assets exceeding $1 million have not engaged professional help with their estate plan. Can you say “the bridge is out?”

The Street’s recent article, titled “Mistakes You Need to Stop Making,” warns that this failure to make proper estate plans risks leaving a big old messes for loved ones left behind to clean them up. And attorneys can get very expensive in “clean-up” mode. So, what are some common mistakes, according to the article?

Mistake 1: Not Signing a Will. Even those who are proactive in their planning sometimes forget to dot the I’s and cross the T’s. For example, some go to the time, effort and expense of having a will drafted … then never sign it. No, really. While signing the will becomes a priority when a health crisis or other serious life event strikes, it is too risky to wait. Bottom line: Get that will signed yesterday!

Mistake 2: Tax Faux-Pas. Federal estate tax laws exempt taxes on estates with assets below $5.43 million per person. This has lured many otherwise bright taxpayers into thinking “no estate tax, no need to estate plan.” Wrong. There are a number of non-tax estate planning benefits for estate planning. While you will want to read the original article for yourself, the list includes avoiding financial disputes about the inheritance, protecting assets from creditors and lawsuits, and donating to charity. Do not forget – “state estate taxes” are part of the process, too. Your state might have a much smaller estate tax exemption limit than the federal exemption.

Mistake 3: Negligence/Being Out-of-Date Failing to keep your estate plan up-to-date is another dangerous mistake. You do, after all, keep your automobiles, home and even cell phone up-to-date and current. Make sure that you do a review with your estate planning attorney any time a major life event happens. These events include, but are not limited to divorces, deaths in the family or the births of a grandchildren. By far, the best way to avoid (and quit making) estate planning mistakes is to work with an experienced estate planning attorney who can steer you clear of common mistakes and the mistakes made by others.

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 Overland Park KS“. Third, either way, verify. Check out the education, experience, ratings and client reviews of any attorney before you contact him or her. How? There are two helpful resources just a mouse click away to assist with your due diligence:  Avvo.com and Lawyers.com.  Check any Avvo ratings, client ratings/testimonials and attorney endorsements on Avvo.com and any “peer ratings” by judges/other attorneys and any client ratings/testimonials on Lawyers.com.

Estate Planning Lawyers in Leawood

Estate Planning is really about peace of mind. What estate planning is everything about is discovering the right devices to implement your basic requirements. What that indicates is that we make use of the most sophisticated legal files to appropriately execute your desires. We customize each and every strategy so that you get exactly what you desire. We do this using the most up to date tools so that we can prepare a customized strategy at the lowest possible cost. Please call us today with any concerns.
http://ift.tt/1JyGGgD
The Eastman Law Firm is an estate planning law practice. We concentrate on estate planning so that you can be ensured that you are getting the most approximately date techniques. We train extensively so that we can supply the specific right match for your desires and desires. We don’t require everyone into a single mold. Instead, we attempt and ensure that everybody is treated with the most customized solution that best satisfies their needs.

http://ift.tt/1JU4Bfo


The Eastman Law Firm
Estate planning attorneys, focusing on Wills, Trusts and Probate law.
4901 W. 136th Street, Ste. 240
Leawood
KANSAS (KS)
66224
United States

Phone: (913) 908-9113

Hours:
Mon-Sat 8am – 5:30pm

See our directory page here and here.

Create a Trust to Avoid Probate

Avoiding Probate through a Trust

We say it all the time – the best way to avoid probate is through a trust.  However, it is really nice to see when others also agree with this advice.  Please take a look at the article below.  Because, as we know, revocable Trusts in Leawood avoid probate.  This sounds easy and can avoid a lot of problems later.

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Trade Talk: Avoid probate by creating a trust

With the unexpected death of my baby brother this summer, I’m not waiting to get my affairs in order.

I remembered last week that I’d named Jeff ” who died of a sudden heart attack in July at age 55 ” as the payable-upon-death beneficiary on my checking and savings accounts. I promptly went to the bank and changed the beneficiary to my twin sister, as my daughter Jessica is a minor.

I did the same beneficiary change on my traditional IRA, Roth IRA (which I’ve been funding for Jess’ college) and 401(k), on which I had no beneficiary listed! if you’re married, your spouse is the legal and automatic beneficiary on IRAs. But I had my husband, now ex, sign away his rights to my IRAs days after I realized we were no longer a trusted team.

Without proper planning, the 401(k) and other assets with unnamed beneficiaries eventually would go to Jessica. But they could be held up in probate for months. When I wrote about wills and trusts in 2002, only one-third of Americans had wills and the national average for a probate was 16 months.

Upon my death, Jessica’s father would become her guardian, but I don’t want him in charge of money she’d inherit. I know my sister would be a good steward of assets and would distribute money to Jessica as needed and when she could handle it wisely.

Four years ago, Oklahoma’s banking laws were changed to allow a bank or credit union to release up to $20,000 to the heirs of a deceased person without probating the estate. But if the person died with a will, or if the person had other property such as a house, it may still be necessary to probate the estate.

The deed to my house is in my name only, and I need to do a transfer-on-death deed or something, and leave instructions about my car and personal belongings. I learned from past reporting that a written will holds more water than downloading a fill-in-the-blank template from the Internet.

My investment banker at Chase tells clients that it’s cheaper to get a trust than pay for an estate lawyer to handle probate. A friend, who’s an investment professional in Tulsa, said the cost of a trust and probate is about the same ” some $1,500 to $1,800 ” but it’s well worth the money to create a trust now, he said.

Under Oklahoma law, one-third of the estate ” in the absence of a will or trust ” goes to the surviving spouse and two-thirds to the deceased’s children. It’s split 50-50 if there is only one child. Single people’s assets will go to their parents.

The silver lining to my brother’s death, though a microscopic one, is I’m cherishing each day and vowing to no longer sweat the small stuff. I’m also putting my affairs in order now, with plans to create a trust the soonest I possibly can.

Estate Planning Lawyers in Leawood

Estate Planning is all about peace of mind. What estate planning is all about is discovering the right devices to execute your basic needs. We do this using the most up to date tools so that we can prepare a personalized strategy at the least expensive possible expense.
http://ift.tt/1Jmkutb
The Eastman Law Firm is an estate planning law firm. We concentrate on estate planning so that you can be assured that you are getting the most up to date techniques.

http://ift.tt/1JU4Bfo


The Eastman Law Firm
Estate planning attorneys, focusing on Wills, Trusts and Probate law.
4901 W. 136th Street, Ste. 240
Leawood
KANSAS (KS)
66224
United States

Phone: (913) 908-9113

Hours:
Mon-Sat 8am – 5:30pm

See our directory page here and here.

In estate planning, simple isn’t always simple

Simple isn’t Simple in Estate Planning

Below is a great article on how “simple” estates can become very complicated in a hurry.  We see this all the time.  People just want to “keep is simple” and estate end up making things very difficult.  Intestate succession in Leawood sounds easy, but can create a whole mess of problems later.

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Leawood estate planning attorneys

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Simple can get complicated in estate planning

In the last couple of months, I have met with several people who have told me they “just want to keep everything simple” when it comes to their estate planning.

What most people don’t realize is that creating a simple plan now can potentially create complex, time consuming and costly problems for their loved ones later. This is not to say that I recommend complex estate plans for every person or family. My most common response to the question, “What estate plan do you recommend?” is simple ” it depends. Here are a couple of scenarios in which simple planning can create unintended consequences.

Intestate succession is the simplest of all plans because it is automatic under Wisconsin law and requires no planning. The law simply transfers all assets automatically to your heirs or descendants. Under Wisconsin law, the first heir is the husband or wife, followed by biological and adopted children. If there are children from outside the marriage, those children are usually entitled to some of the assets, too. If you are not married and have no children, then parents are next, followed by siblings. Surprisingly, many families fall into this category due to lack of time, the costs involved, or the idea of talking about death and the transfer of assets is uncomfortable or even stressful. This is more common now due to the increase in second marriages which create the “yours, mine and ours” situation.

Consider the following scenarios:

» Scenario 1: Married couple with children ages 21 and 25. No one has a written estate plan. If both spouses pass away, the three children would split everything equally. A probate filing most likely would be required which will take between six months to a year to complete at a minimum. Once the probate is finalized and the children receive their inheritance you might ask yourself what the children would actually do with the assets. Whatever they want. What if one of them had a substance abuse issue? What if the oldest child was married and passed away after the parents? The spouse would receive half of the in-laws’ estate before any grandchildren. The spouse would also be entitled to half of their spouse’s inheritance in a divorce situation.

» Scenario 2: Second marriage, each with minor children from previous marriage but no common children. If one spouse dies, all nonbeneficiary designated assets will not necessarily all pass to the surviving spouse. This would include real estate owned by the deceased spouse and the personal property. Any assets the deceased spouse transferred by beneficiary designation (such as life insurance, 401k, IRA) could go to the minor children, if named, but their guardian would have control over the assets. This would most likely result in the ex-spouse having control over the assets as the minor children’s guardian.

These scenarios do not change much even if the married couple drafted simple wills. It may allow each person to bypass their spouse in favor of children, but it will not prevent the requirement for probate. You can avoid probate for real estate by drafting a transfer on death deed and name beneficiaries, even minor children, but that does not protect it from creditors, divorces or guardians. Similarly, drafting a will does not protect assets from adult children’s choices or divorces. A “simple” plan may be appropriate for some, but as always, it depends.

Estate Planning Lawyers in Leawood

Estate Planning is really about comfort. What estate planning is everything about is finding the right devices to execute your basic needs. What that indicates is that we make use of the most advanced legal documents to effectively implement your desires. We customize each and every strategy so that you get exactly what you want. We do this using the most current devices so that we can prepare a personalized plan at the most affordable possible expense. Kindly call us today with any concerns.
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The Eastman Law Firm is an estate planning law firm. We focus on estate planning so that you can be guaranteed that you are getting the most up to date techniques.

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The Eastman Law Firm
4901 W. 136th Street, Ste.240, Leawood
KANSAS (KS)
66224
United States

Phone: (913) 908-9113

See our directory page here and here.

Following Up on Ernie Banks Estate Dispute

Estate Disputes – Even Mr. Cub has them

Estate disputes are happening more and more often.  Here is Leawood, estate disputes are no longer a once a decade occurrence.  We are now seeing them happen all the time.  Some of the reasons are that people are living longer, which in turn means that they can change their mind several times from the age of 65 to their death at 85.  It goes without saying that the elderly are more susceptible to suggestion (i.e., fraud and undue influence), which in turn leads to these estate disputes.

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Update on the Ernie Banks (Mr. Cub) Estate Quarrel

Here is an update on the continuing melodrama surrounding the estate of the late great baseball legend Ernie Banks. A sad tale it is. If you have been following the story, have you heard the latest? It seems his widow is set to meet with the longtime caretaker (and sole estate beneficiary) in an attempt to work things out?

This will be their first meeting (know as a “settlement conference” in legal speak) and it will be closed-door. If no settlement is reached, then things could get nasty … and expensive. Unfortunately, it is not that uncommon for feuds over estates to drain the estates dry. When that happens, trial attorneys become the unintended “beneficiaries”. Ouch.

The Chicago Tribune, naturally, has been carrying this story. These latest developments were reported in its recent installment titled “Ernie Banks case: Two sides to try to settle dispute about Cub great’s will.” For those of you who are new to the story, here is what you need to know: Elizabeth Banks was estranged from husband Ernie when he died. She has alleged in a court filing that her husband had been diagnosed with dementia days before the caretaker Regina Rice had him sign a will in October 2014. Surprise. The new will cut out his family and left everything to Rice. For her part, Rice said Banks entrusted her to execute the will and he wanted to make sure his fourth wife did not inherit any of his estate. Interestingly, court records seem to corroborate this claim to some degree. How? Banks sent his estranged wife a “cease and desist” letter in 2013, requiring her to stop claiming any right to his personal or business dealings. So, why would Rice agree to a settlement conference with this type of evidence that would appear to support the disinheritance of the estranged wife in favor of Rice. The attorney for Rice told the judge that Rice wanted to proceed with a settlement conference due to the limited assets in the estate. That attorney said it was in everyone’s best interest to resolve the estate in “a peaceful manner.”

So, what remains of the limited estate assets of the legend? Rice filed an inventory of personal property earlier this year, consisting primarily of things from his rented condo and storage containers in Chicago and California. The list included Banks’ original Negro League contract from 1950, a Rolex watch, his Hall of Fame ring, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In addition, there are also other assets in a private trust set up in Rice’s name under the terms of the will.

The original article noted that Banks’ twin sons, Joey and Jerry, were not present for the legal proceedings. However, that does not mean that they have gone away. The two publicly accused Rice of taking advantage of their father’s frail condition, vowing to fight her in court when the will became public. The probate judge said the deadline for the sons to file the paperwork to be participants in the case was approaching. However, if the case settles before that time, the sons would not be able to contest any award they may be given. All that noted, Elizabeth Banks did receive a $20,000 spousal award from the judge. This figure represents the minimum amount allowed under the state’s probate law. Nevertheless, the attorneys for Rice objected to this saying the estranged wife failed to prove financial reliance on Banks at the time of his death. The judge did not budge, ruling that the law was clear on the matter.

And the beat goes on. As you can see, estate quarrels are not pleasant. Fortunately, there are proven ways to avoid them. Contact an experienced estate planning attorney who can help you ensure a feud-free estate plan. 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.

Estate Planning Lawyers in Leawood

Estate Planning is all about assurance. What estate planning is all about is finding the right tools to execute your basic needs. What that really means is that we use the most sophisticated legal files to appropriately execute your desires. We customize each and every plan so that you get precisely what you desire. We do this making use of the most recent devices so that we can prepare a personalized strategy at the lowest possible expense. Please call us today with any questions.
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The Eastman Law Firm is an estate planning law firm. We focus on estate planning so that you can be ensured that you are getting the most approximately date techniques. We train thoroughly so that we can provide the precise right match for your wants and desires. We do not force everyone into a single mold. Instead, we attempt and ensure that everyone is treated with the most customized solution that best meets their requirements.

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The Eastman Law Firm
4901 W. 136th Street, Ste.240, Leawood
KANSAS (KS)
66224
United States

Phone: (913) 908-9113

See our directory page here and here.

Guidelines for Protecting Your Estate from Creditors

Protecting Your Estate from Creditors – Planning Tips

An important estate planning goal for many individuals is to be sure that their money ultimately passes to their heirs, rather than their creditors. When you pass away, the tax man is not the only one who can take a bite out of the assets that you leave behind for your loved ones. Whether it is cash, real estate, retirement money, or other funds, inherited assets can suddenly come up for grabs in a number of scenarios when creditors and others come calling. You can often make your estate creditor-proof in Leawood by avoiding probate, which is designed to pay off creditors. Here are some guidelines to help you avoid probate and prevent outsiders from getting the money you have left for your heirs. Always consult with a trusted financial advisor when considering any changes to your estate plan.

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Use a trust instead of a will to transfer assets ” Establishing a trust is not only a key way to skip probate court, it can also prevent the assets you have spent a lifetime accumulating from going to predators who might slap your heirs with lawsuits. A trust can specify that the money only be used for certain purposes, like the education, care or support of a specific beneficiary. This way, there can be no payout to creditors. Trusts can contain specific language and provisions that prevent your beneficiaries’ creditors from seizing any trust assets. Unlike wills, trusts are not a matter of public record. They are a tool for maintaining privacy. In addition, trusts are much more difficult to contest than a will. A final advantage of a trust over a will is that a will has to go through probate, which is expensive and time-consuming. Probate costs can eat up more than 3% of an estate. So if you bequeath $1 million through your will, your heirs could pay more than $30,000 in probate expenses and wait a year or more for their inheritances.

Handle retirement assets appropriately ” Be careful with how you pass along retirement assets such as IRAs and 401(k) plans. Creditors can sometimes go after those monies if one of your loved ones winds up in bankruptcy court. To prevent this, leave IRAs to beneficiaries in a separate IRA trust to keep the funds away from creditors. The Supreme Court ruled in 2014 that any time a child or grandchild inherits an IRA, it is no longer protected from creditors. By creating a stand-alone IRA trust for children or grandchildren to inherit an IRA, your offspring will have access to the money, but creditors will not. Fortunately, married couples do not have to worry about this problem. Under current law, if one spouse dies with an IRA, the surviving spouse is allowed to receive the IRA assets as a “spousal rollover” and the funds are protected from outsiders.

Safeguard life insurance proceeds ” Money held in a life insurance policy is protected from creditors, so any death benefit or cash value is protected and will go directly only to the individuals or organizations you name as beneficiaries. But once life insurance proceeds are distributed as cash to your beneficiaries, the funds are open to attack from anyone. To prevent this, safeguard the life insurance by putting it an irrevocable life insurance trust (ILIT). An ILIT is a tool specifically designed to own life insurance. Just like other trusts, the ILIT has a trustee, beneficiaries and precise terms for distributions. You can add protective provisions, like a spendthrift clause and a discretionary distribution clause, to keep the insurance proceeds from your beneficiaries’ creditors. A spendthrift clause prohibits the trustee from transferring trust assets to anyone other than the beneficiaries. That includes an ex-spouse, creditors or even the IRS. A spendthrift clause also says no beneficiary is permitted to assign, pledge or sell any interest in the trust”whether trust principal or income. If the trustee believes the distribution would be wasted or claimed by the beneficiaries’ creditors, a discretionary distribution clause gives your trustee the right to withhold income and principal distributions that would otherwise be payable to the beneficiaries.

Title bank accounts and assets properly ” If you own joint assets or name beneficiaries on your accounts and assets, a creditor cannot seize what you leave behind after you die. Instead, the money will go directly to the person(s) listed on the accounts. If you are married, make sure your spouse is named as a beneficiary on the bank account, which keeps the asset from having to go through probate. Adding beneficiaries to financial accounts is another creditor-busting move, since those assets avoid probate upon the death of the first account owner. But in this instance, it is the deceased person’s creditors that will not get access to the money, not the creditors of the beneficiaries. Instead of having a joint owner listed on the title of certain accounts, a variation on this technique is to have a named beneficiary listed on your accounts, such as a 529 plan that may be for the benefit of a grandchild’s college education.

Payable-on-death accounts ” Another way to bypass probate and pass along the money to your heirs is to choose a payable-on-death (POD) or transfer-on-death (TOD) account designation. This differs from a joint tenant or co-owner arrangement because your heirs only have access to the fund after your death. Joint tenant and co-owners have access to the funds while you are alive.

Estate Planning Lawyers in Leawood

Estate Planning is all about peace of mind. What estate planning is all about is finding the right tools to execute your fundamental requirements. We do this using the most up to date devices so that we can prepare a personalized strategy at the lowest possible cost.
http://ift.tt/1Lo4VBQ
The Eastman Law Firm is an estate planning law firm. We focus on estate planning so that you can be assured that you are getting the most up to date methods.

http://ift.tt/1JU4Bfo


The Eastman Law Firm
4901 W. 136th Street, Ste.240, Leawood
KANSAS (KS)
66224
United States

Phone: (913) 908-9113

See our directory page here and here.

Estate Planning is for Young People too

Estate Planning – It’s not just for old People

Below is a great article on estate planning for young people in Leawood.  It’s easy to think that estate planning is simply for old people or at least those approaching middle age.  We easily forget that a lot of the accidents in this world happen to younger persons and they need estate planning as well.  What’s great is that they don’t need a lot – but they still need some.

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Young People Need Estate Planning Too

Over the last few months, I have been reading stories of tragic deaths of young people. Most recently the sad passing of Bobbi Kristina Brown (Whitney Houston’s daughter) and the 2 women with wonderful bright futures killed by a gunman at a movie theater in July, Jillian Johnson and Mayci Breaux. Tragedies like these make me think of how precious life is and to consider each day as a gift.

These tragedies also make people in the financial planning industry re-confirm long held beliefs about the need for an estate plan for someone young and single. An estate plan is simply giving you a voice as to what you want done in the event you are not around to speak. An estate plan gives direction to those who are left behind as to how to handle things in the way you would want them to be handled such as:

Do you want a say in how you are medically treated if you are unable to make a decision? I tell my younger nieces and nephews that their mantra is “doing life on my terms.” If that is their mantra, and they do not clearly state what they want done if they cannot make a medical decision, they are literally leaving their lives in the hands of other people. There were reported disagreements as to the medical care of Bobbi Christina Brown. if she had a healthcare directive, she could have stated her own decision and perhaps saved her loved ones a lot of grief and turmoil. If you want to prepare for such an event in your life, you can create a healthcare directive for free at My Directives.com.

Who handles your social media accounts when you are unable to or can’t? I had a dear friend that recently passed away from cancer. One nephew gained access to her Facebook account and started posting information about my friend that I knew she never would have wanted posted. As well intentioned as he was, his posts hurt her family as well as those of us who loved her. Have a list of your social media accounts, user id, passwords and domains and put in writing the person you want to handle your accounts if you passed away. This person should have some experience with computers and dealing with social media.

Who pays for your burial expenses? It is estimated that over 95 million adults in the US do not have life insurance. When you are gone, there are going to be costs associated with burial expenses, time away from work to handle your estate in court, better known as probate, as well as possible costs in removing items from your home. Many will say that if you have no one that is depending on your income then life insurance is not necessary. Consider the people left behind and ensure that there is enough money to at least cover your burial expenses.

What happens to your “Sweet 16” pictures or that trophy you won in junior high? In an ideal world your parents will come together to take care of your things. In reality, there are parents that are not together or are so hostile toward each other that they may fight over your things if you are gone. What may have no monetary value to you may have significant sentimental value to those who love you. Decide who will get the things you own and put it in writing. This is most often done through a will. Many companies offer free estate planning benefits to include will preparation, so start there. If your company does not offer estate planning services you can either pay to have a will done or create a will online using websites like Legalzoom.com, Nolo.com, or USLegal.com. A hybrid approach is to do your will online and then have the will evaluated by an attorney.

What happens to your savings and investments? You probably have at least a bank account and a retirement plan at your job. Make sure you have up-to-date beneficiaries on the latter. You can add beneficiaries to your bank account too by asking the bank for a POD (payable on death) form. A will can take a while for the court to process but with beneficiaries, your heirs just need to show up with a death certificate and some form of ID and they can get immediate access to your accounts.

A tragedy can happen to anyone at any time. Planning for such a moment is admittedly not very fun. But if you really want to live life on your terms, then take action today to make sure that you do that, all the way to the end.

Estate Planning Lawyers in Leawood

Estate Planning is all about peace of mind. What estate planning is all about is finding the right devices to execute your fundamental requirements. We do this utilizing the most up to date devices so that we can prepare a personalized plan at the lowest possible cost.
http://ift.tt/1J8CXXI
The Eastman Law Firm is an estate planning law practice. We concentrate on estate planning so that you can be assured that you are getting the most up to date techniques.

http://ift.tt/1JU4Bfo


The Eastman Law Firm
4901 W. 136th Street, Ste.240, Leawood
KANSAS (KS)
66224
United States

Phone: (913) 908-9113

See our directory page here and here.