Estate Planning Tips and Advice
Estate Planning is all about finding out your needs and then taking those needs and using a bunch of different lawyer tools to create a whole plan that can meet both your needs, budget and overall legal structure.
We asked a great estate planning firm in Kansas City about their top five tips for estate planning.
Tip 1: Buy Long-Term Care Insurance
Yeah, we know that this is about estate planning law, etc. However, one of the biggest risks that people face is not death, but instead it is living a long time in a care facility. There is study after study that shows that people are living longer, However, there are also many studies that show that people completely underestimate how long that they will live and need long-term care. We believe that this is the single greatest threat to move people’s assets.
Tip 2: Don’t Forget Your Business
For a lot of people, their business is their single biggest asset. However, they have made their business completely reliant upon their personal supervision. A good business lawyer is imperative to the running of your business. However, you need to make sure that your business lawyer is one that will set up the business for the next owner. You have to make sure that this plan works with your estate plan – including how the asset will produce over time as well as who you want to get the business.
Tip 3: Get a Good Power of Attorney
One of the key parts is a good estate plan is a Power of Attorney form. There are two types of these forms – one for financial purposes and one for health care purposes. A Health Care Power of Attorney form is one that will help you in case of a health care scare, such as if you were in truck accident, or auto accident in KC and could not take care of yourself.
Tip 4: Think about your Home
Real estate in Kansas City is an important part of most people’s assets. The family home can be much more than just the place where your kids grew up. For most people, it is the single largest asset that they own. They question is whether this asset can be liquidated without harming the overall estate plan.
Tip 5: Think about Family Dynamics
The single biggest problem that we see in estate planning in Kansas is the second marriage problem. You see, a lot of people want their estate planning to be “cheap and easy.” So, what they do is title all of their property in joint tenancy with rights of survivorship. What happens is when the first spouse dies, all the assets then go to the second spouse. However, if the second spouse gets remarried and then titles everything in joint tenancy with rights of survivorship and then dies, then their new spouse will get everything. The new spouse is likely to have their own family and when they die their kids will receive all of the assets. So, the kids are “accidentally disinherited.”
The better approach is to have a will and go through the probate process in Kansas City.
It is a good idea to spend time thinking through what you want for your estate. Take a look at the five tips above and then think about your current situation and where you want things to go in the years ahead. Remember, use the tips above, such as your business or home, to figure out what you want to have happen when you die.