Estate planning is an estate planning attorney’s area of specialization. An estate is the property and/or real property that an individual possesses at the time of death. The field of estate planning law encompasses the drafting of legal documents, such as wills, trusts, and power of attorney, to facilitate the safe transfer and distribution of assets after death. As part of the strategy for planning the passing away of one’s assets, an estate planner assists the client and his or her family members in creating a Will. This enables the client to specify how his or her belongings will be transferred upon his or her death and to ensure that all legal conditions are met. Continue reading this Law in Kansas City
Although estate planning law addresses the various methods by which an individual can pass away, it also has much to do with the ways in which people attempt to avoid probate. Probate court is where probate is processed. Individuals and families who would like to avoid probate can do so by making a Will. A Will is a document that is made by a person detailing his or her intentions regarding specific properties and assets. In addition to indicating what should occur after death, a Will can also be used as a grantor’s instruction to an executor to handle a specific asset or distribute funds to designated beneficiaries.
The drafting of a Will varies greatly from person to person. Some individuals utilize the services of an attorney while others make their own wills. Some opt to make use of the forms offered by the Selective Office of the Probate and Estate Service (SPRO) to create their personal wills. All wills must conform to applicable Federal and state laws and must be supported by adequate documentation.
Wills are not the only method used to establish the succession of property upon death. Power of attorney is another option that an individual can use to establish the ownership and control over some of their financial, legal, and healthcare wishes regarding their affairs. A power of attorney form must be signed by a doctor or attorney meeting the aforementioned criteria. Other commonly used methods of establishing or altering estate plans include living trust (which is actually a legal entity separate from the person’s will), durable power of attorney (allows a third party to assume a person’s powers and responsibilities without the individual’s authorization), and many others.
As one can see, estate planning law provides the best avenue for protecting one’s assets during difficult times. Proper asset protection is necessary to ensure that loved ones will have the finances they need following death. Ensuring that assets are dispersed according to directives established by the deceased will make sure that property won’t be lost or dispersed improperly. Estate planning may also provide valuable peace of mind when it comes to fulfilling future wishes regarding certain assets. This includes decisions regarding charitable donations, college education, or investment funds. By securing these important decisions through the proper channels, the individual can rest assured that their wishes will not be changed in the process.
Another important area in estate and probate law deals with intestacy laws. The intestacy laws regulate how property is to be distributed when there is a dispute as to who should inherit from a deceased individual’s estate. If intestacy laws are ignored, the surviving members of a couple can be ordered to share communal property. This can be extremely difficult in a society where most people don’t believe in sharing communal property. An experienced estate planning attorney can help couples establish the right intestacy rules that apply in their particular situation.
Estate planning is also important to protect inheritance taxes. Inheritance tax is levied on any transferred assets, even though the proceeds are smaller than the overall value of the property being transferred. As inheritance tax rates continue to climb, it is more essential than ever to have an estate plan in place. An estate planning attorney will be able to advise on the best course of action when it comes to minimizing inheritance tax. In some cases, the attorney may actually represent the person or entity making the request for an estate, instead of the beneficiaries.
Estate planning attorneys must keep up with changes in the laws that govern estate planning. New regulations regarding who can serve clients and how they must do so have become prevalent in recent years. Estate planners and attorneys have to stay informed of these changes and ensure that their clients remain protected. Because of this, many attorneys have made it their profession to write wills and other legal documents. While this service can sometimes be pricey, attorneys find it very necessary to serve clients adequately in order to meet the demands of their clients. This service is invaluable to today’s savvy consumer.