Estate Planning is More than Just Taxes

Gratitude and Estate Planning

Below is a really good article on estate planning and how it is more than just a tax review.  As they say, not only the wealthy need estate planning.  It goes through some of the nuts and bolts of the estate planning process and, most importantly, talks about gratitude at the end.

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Estate Planning ퟀ�” It’s Not Just Taxes

By Ray and Dana Brandon

Ray’s Take: Many people think estate planning is only for the super wealthy, but that’s not the case. Do you have a home? Children or grandchildren? Elderly parents? Bank accounts or other assets? If you have any of these, you need an estate plan. And it’s about more than just taxes.

An estate plan helps protect your family when ퟀ�” not if ퟀ�” you pass away. There are a number of things to include in estate planning.

A big item is a last will and testament. According to a Gallup poll, only 44 percent of Americans had a last will and testament in 2016. This is the document that tells everyone your final wishes and yet over half of Americans have not made a will. That leaves a lot up to chance, court fees and possible legal battles.

You can name beneficiaries on tax-deferred accounts, and those will pass directly to the specified individual outside of the will. Things like life insurance and retirement accounts fall into this category as well. But you can’t name minors. Further, a pile of cash with no strings attached falling into the hands of a college student may not be in their best interest. Without a named beneficiary on these accounts, they will pass into probate, and if you don’t have a will, your state will write one for you, and you might not like it.

It’s important to review your estate planning documents regularly to make sure you’ve designated people where needed and want to keep the same beneficiaries. For example, if your executor, trustee or guardian has moved across the country, you’re likely better off naming someone local. You’ll also want to review your estate plan every time there’s a major life event, such as the birth of a child or grandchild, the death of a parent or a divorce.

These are only a few of the items in a good estate plan. An attorney or financial expert can help you set up your estate plan so that your assets go where you want rather than where a judge designates.

Dana’s Take: Estate planning is planning what to leave behind and to whom. But what about the impressions and memories you will leave with family and friends?

I read about a retired CEO who made a mission to thank all of the people in his life who helped him along the way. First, he wrote to each person and asked to meet face-to-face. Then he flew or drove to meet each one. Imagine the joy he spread by expressing his gratitude.

Ray’s father, Denby Brandon Jr., also made a lifelong habit of expressing appreciation to clients, friends and loved ones.

It’s never too late to create a legacy of gratitude.

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 implement your fundamental requirements. We do this using the most up to date devices so that we can prepare a customized strategy at the least expensive possible cost.
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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 up to date methods.

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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 and our lawyers.com profile here.

Some Complications on Estate Planning without Heirs

Estate planning without spouse or children can get complicated

When a person dies, his or her possessions usually pass to the spouse or children. However, when someone with no immediate family dies, the process can become complicated.

Stephen Rudolph, president of HW Financial Advisors in Cleveland; Barbara Bellin Janovitz, estate planning chair at Reminger Attorneys at Law in Cleveland; and Linda Delacourt Summers, member of the estate planning council at Ulmer & Berne in Cleveland, all said many things must be considered when planning an estate.

“In this case, I see people without a spouse or child name charities (in their will),” Rudolph said. “They want money to go to the causes they deeply care about. That can be done either through state documents at death or depending on their wealth, they can set up a fund.”

Rudolph said it’s important to consider life planning and estate planning hand-in-hand.

“Life planning is also involved, depending on ages and where they are at in life,” he said. “If you don’t have an estate plan because you figure you don’t need one because you don’t have dependents or spouses, it could end up going to their parents. And sometimes, they could be the last people that would need the money.”

A significant other could be listed as a beneficiary, but Rudolph said that could be risky – especially when there is no legal commitment to them.

“Depending on the relationship, you could break up and forget to change the will,” he said. “And suddenly, they are getting everything out of the estate.”

Janovitz said estate planning could prove to be more important for those who don’t have children.

“If you don’t have an estate plan, the estate will come up with one for you,” she said. “And that’s usually not what you want. Your items would go to your next of kin and family members. You don’t want the court or state to do that work for you.”

Janovitz said a person should control what happens to the property.

“The key is that you want to make all of the same decisions, whether or not you’re married,” she said. “You don’t want to leave (your estate) up to chance. You’re the maker of your own destiny.”

Janovitz said a list of potential inheritors could be large and less obvious and when one is married, children probably would be the beneficiaries.

“If you’re single, and have no children, the world is your oyster in terms of who you want to designate to,” she said. “You could leave property to a close friends or even to charity. But those decisions tend to be more difficult when you don’t have someone ‘cut and dry’ to leave it to.”

Summers said when someone has no immediate family, it “opens up a different dynamic in estate planning because they are not confined by the social norm of leaving assets to a spouse or child.”

Summers said this is when charities are heavily considered in the estate planning process, along with other family members that aren’t necessarily immediate. “The single individual has to think of the broader spectrum of people in their lives that may be better equipped to fill important roles,” she said. “You need to leave behind a road map so those people have an understanding of what it is you want.”

Summer said the right questions must be asked when estate planning.

“You have to think about who would be best equipped to serve in those important roles,” she said. “They have to think about different plans because no one ever knows what the future holds for us. It’s an open-ended question in a way.

“It’s a gift to do estate planning, because it takes the weight off their shoulders and provides answers to questions they may ask, before they ask them.”

Father’s Day Estate Planning

Some Father’s Day estate planning advice for you

So, it’s father’s day.  The day we get to celebrate our fathers.  I recently lost my father and sat down to talk to my family members about estate planning – not the most exciting subject for father’s day, but all the more relevant now that my own father is gone.

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Father’s Day: Estate Planning

June 16, 2017 10:32 AM By Dee Lee

BOSTON (CBS) �” According to a recent Rocket Lawyer survey, a surprising 32% of Americans would rather do their taxes, get a root canal, or give up sex for a month than create or update their will. And even more Americans find it difficult to have conversations about their estate planning.

So talking to your elderly dad about estate planning could be a disaster. Dad may think you are after his money or he may be embarrassed to let you know how little he has.

But you could be one of the lucky ones and dad has already done everything needed and will tell you where the papers are. Mention to him that you heard this financial planner on the radio and you realize you need to get your affairs in order.

Ask what has he done to get his affairs in order? If he says “nothing”, offer to help referring to the documents I have listed. If he says “yes”, ask where are the documents?

Estate planning does not need to be complicated. A will allows you to give your assets, the stuff you own, to your heirs. If there is a complicated situation such as second or third marriage with kids from each marriage or lots of money involved then you need to do some fancy estate planning.

A living trust you use while you are alive and upon your death your assets are distributed to your beneficiaries by your trustee and bypasses the probate process. This makes it very easy on the heirs and avoids probate.

Naming someone as the beneficiary of your IRA, retirement plan, insurance policy or annuity also supersedes the will and bypasses the probate process.

A Durable Power of Attorney is a legal document used while one is still alive. It allows you to choose someone to act as your attorney-in-fact to make decisions legally or financially if you are not able to do so.

A Medical Directive, allows you to tell the medical community how you want to be treated if you cannot make medical decisions for yourself. In Massachusetts it is a Health Care Proxy, which allows you to choose someone to make those decisions for you.

One more thing: When choosing someone to act as your power of attorney or health care proxy choose one person with a second as an alternate. If you have two children do not put both their names on the document. If they fought about the jellybeans in their Easter basket they will fight about your health care.

And do speak with the person you would like to be your proxy before putting their name on the document.

Also, a new book: Check List for my Family: a Guide to my History, Financial Plans and Final Wishes. Helps you put your life in order by gathering in one place your online accounts. Finances, legal documents, wishes about medical care and more. It tells you what you need and why and what’s missing and where to get it.  Available at AARP, bookstores or amazon

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 fundamental needs. We do this using the most up to date devices so that we can prepare a personalized plan at the lowest possible expense.
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The Eastman Law Firm is an estate planning law practice. We concentrate on estate planning so that you can be guaranteed that you are getting the most approximately date techniques. We train extensively so that we can supply the specific right match for your wants and desires. We do not force everyone into a single mold. Instead, we attempt and make certain that everyone is treated with the most customized solution that best fulfills their needs.

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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

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See our directory page here and here.

3 Life-Changing Events That Should Prompt the Creation or Revision of a Will

Three Life-Changing Events That Should Prompt You to Revise, or Create, a Will

While a creating a will might be stressful or upsetting to some, having a will in place can help ensure that your loved ones are secure. A will makes sure that your final wishes are be clearly planned out and that your intended recipients will receive the assets you’ve determined.

Even if you think it might be too early to be thinking about managing end of life dealings, there are several major events that can happen in almost any season of life that may call for writing (or updating) a will. A will can be updated whenever necessary so there is no reason to put it off. In addition, a Peoria IL probate attorney or estate planning attorney can make the process of writing a will very straightforward and legally sound.

Purchasing a Major Asset

If you recently invested in a valuable asset, you may want to consider having your will include who is going to inherit that asset. Major purchases can include vehicles, expensive pieces of artwork, jewelry, or a real estate property.

Having a Child

A will can also ensure that your property is passed along to your children or heirs. While minors cannot legally own property, it’s possible to establish a trust fund where your assets may remain until your child is legally capable of managing them. An estate planning attorney can help you establish a trust fund and explain possible tax saving options that you can take advantage of as well.

Wedding - get your estate plan updated

Marriage

A marriage changes many aspects of one’s life, and it may affect who you want included in your will, especially if you’ve been married before. Some states actually require you to rewrite your will after getting married again — or else your first spouse might inherit your estate as if you had no will at all. The exceptions to that law are if you did one of the following:

  1. You had a premarital agreement specifying a different arrangement with regard to what and how much they will inherit.
  2. You provided for the spouse (by name) in the will and specified how much of what assets they will inherit.
  3. You stated specifically in the will that your spouse will not inherit your estate.

Contact an Attorney

Creating or updating a will does not have to be overwhelming. It’s simply planning for the security and well-being of your loved ones, especially if you’re going through some exciting and life altering event. Contact a lawyer today,

Thanks to our friends and contributors from Smith & Weer, P.C. for their insight into estate planning.

Estate Planning Lawyers

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

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See our Twitter page here.