Estate planning involves putting important legal documents in place to provide for distribution of your estate after you pass away and to protect yourself and your family in the event of contingencies that may occur during your life. Probate is a court-supervised process for administering an estate and distributing the assets of a person after their death. Our experienced attorneys at Sloan Law Firm provide comprehensive estate planning and probate legal services for individuals and families throughout the State of Kansas.
Estate planning is essential for everyone. It is particularly critical for parents, caregivers of individuals with special needs, and small business owners, to ensure protection for family members and financial assets if unexpected events occur suddenly at any time in the future.
When you work with a Sloan Law Firm attorney to make your estate plan, your lawyer starts by talking with you to gather all relevant information about you, your family members, and your finances. With that background in hand, your attorney discusses the available options for structuring your estate plan and helps you decide how to proceed.
Your estate planning lawyer drafts all the necessary documents for your estate plan, reviews each one with you in detail, and assists you in signing the documents. This process must take into account a wide range of applicable Kansas laws and legal requirements.
In some cases, establishing your estate plan also requires taking other steps, such as revising the title to property or changing beneficiaries to assets like bank accounts and insurance policies. Your attorney navigates through those aspects of the process as well.
When the entire process is complete, you have the confidence that your estate plan fully addresses your and your family’s future needs and meets validity requirements under Kansas law. You can take great pride in accomplishing a significant goal that protects your family and your assets.
Each estate plan is unique, because it takes into account the personal, family, business, and financial circumstances of the person who creates it. Some documents are essential to every Kansas estate plan. Others are beneficial for some estate plans, but not for others. Your Sloan Law Firm estate planning lawyer helps you decide what is right for your circumstances and family.
A Last Will and Testament, commonly referred to as a Will, is part of virtually every estate plan. A Will can serve different purposes, depending on the structure of the overall estate plan. However, contrary to what some people think, a Will is not a complete estate plan in any situation.
Your Will designates an executor to serve as the personal representative of your estate. That person has broad fiduciary responsibilities under Kansas law that include gathering your assets and protecting them, paying expenses and taxes of the estate, and ultimately distributing the assets of your estate.
You may distribute property to beneficiaries directly through your Will. Alternatively, your estate plan may include a trust as the method of distributing assets. If your plan includes a trust, your Will functions as a “pourover Will” to ensure that the trust includes all desired assets following your death.
If you do not have a Will, Kansas law makes the determinations about who serves as the personal representative of your estate and who inherits your assets after your death. In both cases, those people could end up being individuals other than those you trust to control your estate and want to receive your property.
Durable powers of attorney and an advance medical directive are essential parts of any estate plan. In your durable financial power of attorney, you designate an individual as your agent (or attorney-in-fact) to manage your finances in the event you become incapacitated temporarily or permanently. Your durable health care power of attorney designates a person as your agent to make medical and health care decisions for you in the event of incapacity.
If you do not have durable powers of attorney in place and become incapacitated, your loved ones must petition the court for appointment of a guardian to make personal and health care decisions and a conservator to manage your financial assets. Those court proceedings cost money and consume valuable time at a point when every day that passes matters greatly. In some situations, family members may disagree about whom the court should appoint, which may result in contested guardianship or conservatorship proceedings.
Your advance medical directive includes additional documents relating to health care decisions in the event of your incapacity. In the directive, you may express your wishes about specific medical procedures and end-of-life care. Your advance medical directive ensures that your own wishes are implemented by your agent if you become incapacitated.
Some estate plans benefit from inclusion of a trust for management and disposition of assets. There are many different types of trusts, such as a revocable living trust, special needs trust, charitable trust, and other types of irrevocable trusts.
Setting up a trust requires executing a legal document to establish the type of trust and its terms, as well as funding the trust either during the lifetime of the grantor (person creating it) or on the grantor’s death. Every type of trust is subject to specific legal requirements.
When you talk with your estate planning lawyer at Sloan Law Firm about the structure of your plan, your attorney explains what types of trusts may be appropriate for your plan and what advantages those trusts offer.
Our estate planning attorneys also assist clients with other asset protection strategies and financial planning that are necessary for some estate plans. Whether you require assistance with a prenuptial agreement, Medicaid or long-term care planning, tax planning, gift planning, or another asset protection strategy, your Sloan Law Firm estate planning lawyer has the experience to address your specific needs.
Our Sloan Law Firm attorneys also assist clients with guardianship or conservatorship proceedings if a loved one no longer has the ability to manage their personal or financial affairs.
When a Kansas resident passes away, state laws establish specific requirements for administration of the deceased person’s estate. Every estate requires some type of administration to finalize the person’s financial affairs and property distribution. Many estates must go through the court-supervised probate process.
Probate laws establish detailed, very specific requirements that must be met in the estate administration and probate process. The requirements vary, depending on the nature and size of the estate. But in any circumstances, there are legal procedures that must be followed.
When you lose a loved one, our experienced probate attorneys at Sloan Law Firm ease your worries and concerns about probate and estate administration. We carry as much of the burden as possible, while you and your family tend to each other and honor your loved one during the grieving process. Regardless of the circumstances of your deceased loved one’s estate, our lawyers ensure that all legal requirements are satisfied in a time-efficient and cost-effective manner.
Our team of estate planning and probate attorneys at Sloan Law Firm takes pride in their comprehensive experience, knowledge, and skill in creating and revising estate plans for clients and helping clients through the probate process. We invite you to talk with us about any issue involving estate planning or probate by contacting us to schedule a consultation.