Kansas & Missouri Estate Planning Lawyers
Planning ahead can make all the difference in the world
The Overland Park attorneys at Kraft Law Firm, P.C. help clients plan for the future. Estate planning allows you to provide exact instructions for your care and the division of your property in the event you become incapacitated or upon death. It gives you the power to decide how your assets will be divided, custody arrangements for underage children, medical instructions and more. Estate planning involves a variety of different tools, including:
A will is a legally binding document that distributes your property after your death. It is imperative that along with your will, you assign an executor. This person is charged with ushering your estate through the probate process and carrying out your wishes as stated in the will. With a valid will in place, your wishes as to how your estate should be divided are clear. Having a lawyer oversee the creation of your will ensures that everything in your estate will be accounted for.
A trust is an agreement between yourself and your appointed trustee, usually an individual or institution such as a bank or law firm. Your trustee holds legal title to your property and manages it for those named in the trust, known as beneficiaries. A trust can be created in your will as a testamentary trust or created during your lifetime — living trust. The terms of the trust can be whatever you decide and are clearly outlined within the document.
A comprehensive medical directive includes documents outlining your healthcare choices should you be unable to make them when necessary. The directive should contain:
- Durable power of attorney for healthcare — an agent of your choosing is assigned to make decisions about your healthcare, including life sustaining procedures.
- Living will — outlines your wishes regarding withholding or withdrawing life-sustaining procedures in the event you develop a terminal condition.
- Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order — this document states that if your heart stops beating, no further action should be taken to try and revive you.
Giving someone power of attorney provides that person with the authority to make financial decisions on your behalf. A general power of attorney grants the appointed person all the rights that you have, while a limited power of attorney only provides specific authority. Without a power of attorney, the courts may assign a conservator or guardian for you. This is a time-consuming and costly process, and the appointed person may not have your interests in mind.
Courts appoint guardians and conservators in cases where an adult suffers a mental or physical incapacity that makes it impossible for him or her to manage their money and make responsible decisions. Choosing this path should be a last resort because it is extremely restrictive; however it does not have to be a permanent situation. Guardianship and conservatorship can be revoked if an individual regains the capacity to make financial and health-related decisions for him or herself.
Creating a comprehensive estate plan now can save a lot of time, money and aggravation later, so call the Overland Park attorneys at Kraft Law Firm, P.C. and start planning today with your free half hour consultation. You can reach us Monday – Friday from 8:30a.m. – 5:00p.m. at (913) 851-1414 or through our contact us page.