Estate Planning in Kansas City
The Eastman Law Firm is a focused estate planning law firm in the greater Kansas City area. We provide counsel on Wills, Trusts and Probate law. The Firm serves as counselors, strategists, and advocates and delivers legal services that are responsive, meticulous and cost-effective. We provide world-class legal service so that you can focus on your life. It is this peace of mind that keeps our clients coming back year after year.
Our clients receive expert attention on every transaction; quite simply, we are the best at what we do. The Firm’s experience includes having served as counsel at some of the largest law firms in the Midwest as well as general counsel to publicly traded corporations in addition to multiple years counseling small and medium-sized businesses.
Responsive To You
The Firm pride itself on being accessible and responsive to our clients’ estate planning needs. We know that many law firms believe in not returning calls for a long period of time. We are not that way. We believe in personal service for your probate estate, revocable trust or will. So, we don’t wait weeks to get you some answers to a basic will or trust question. Instead, we actually respond in a timely manner. Our philosophy is simple: make YOUR experience the best one possible.
Cost-Effective For You
Pure and simple, our rates are typically less than the rates of junior associates at larger law firms. We achieve this through low overhead and maximum delivery.
Flexible Fee Structures
We offer several compensation arrangements, including a standard hourly rate, a fixed monthly retainer (for a fixed investment of time) or a flat project fee. We believe in having the right fee structure and work with you on that.
We could provide a trusts and estate plan and then move on, but we instead want to provide a great experience with ongoing benefits for you – so we structure our fees so that you can better meet your estate planning goals.
Many practitioners view a will or trust as a single one-time experience. We don’t believe in that at all. We believe that, as a member of the bar, we have a duty to our clients to provide ongoing counsel for their trusts and estates.
We have numerous contacts locally, regionally, and even nationally with lawyers and other professionals. We are a member of the bar and a KS estate planning attorney member. Our law firm believes that our clients should be given access to the best legal advice at a reasonable price and not just any “one stop shop.” Many times, the large firms are only great in a few areas, but charge large rates in all areas. We are happy to provide expertise to our clients in choosing counsel that fits your needs.
Counseling – Not Just Talk
We believe in lowering our client’s overall legal costs. Lowering costs by a percent or two can dramatically change how you can implement an estate plan. You can then allocate those resources to other areas of your life where they are needed.
Some Frequently Asked Questions
What to Look For in a Kansas City Estate Planning Attorney
The most important thing is simple: competency. You don’t just want to pick out any old attorney (and don’t get us wrong – every attorney we know believes that they can draft a will or trust; most can, but most don’t know all the ins and outs). So, the competency piece is actually hard to find. Locally (KC, etc), there have several good attorneys that focus on estate planning law (besides us, of course). Take your time and find a good estate planning attorney here in KC (call us at (913)908-9113 or (816)224-3133).
Second, find someone that you can communicate with easily. Remember, you are trying to find someone that creates a full estate plan, which can include many other things than just a will or trust. There are asset protection issues (asset protection planning can be an art in and of itself). You need to be able to easily discuss your needs and your lawyer needs to be able to effectively communicate what certain things are, like a advance health care directives (and why you need one), or a living will, or financial power of attorney.
Finally, find someone that meets your budget. Nothing is more frustrating than going in with a set of ideas and realizing after an hour of discussion that it will take you multiple thousands of dollars to create a revocable trust and then even more money to fund it. Get a good idea of this up front. One tip: if you get a “free” hour consultation, that is just built into the back end.
What is a Revocable Trust?
A Revocable Trust is a document that allows you to transfer assets upon your death without the need of probate. Probate can be expensive and time-consuming. The document can also help you during your lifetime by appointing someone to look over you if you become incapacitated.
What is the difference between a Revocable Trust and a Will?
Quite frankly, not as much as you’d think. Wills are generally more basic than a trust, but they can actually be just as complex (the most complex estate that I ever dealt with was actually a will and not a revocable trust – crazy, huh?). A will simply provides who gets your assets upon your death and also states who gets to take care of your children, etc. The biggest difference between a will and trust is that a will must be probated to be effective while a living trust does not have to go through the probate process.
What other documents are typical in an Estate Plan?
In our “standard” estate planning documents, we provide a Trust and Pour-over will for each spouse (or just a Will for those that don’t want a Living Trust). We also draft up financial Powers of Attorney and Health Care Powers of Attorney. We also draft advance health care directives, like living wills. However, as a course of practice, we do NOT draft up a DNR – Do Not Resuscitate – document unless the specific circumstances demand it.
Isn’t it too Expensive to Invest in an Estate Plan?
Well, it can be. Some clients need very sophisticated estate plans. These types of plans can be multiple thousands of dollars and take a lot of time and effort to implement. Some of the issues include complicated Charitable Trusts and other sophisticated estate planning techniques.
But it doesn’t have to be expensive in Kansas City. Many clients just need the basics: a Will, Financial Power of Attorney and a Healthcare Power of Attorney. Those plans aren’t that expensive.
Do I need an Estate Plan if I don’t own very Much?
Well, that depends on what you need to plan for. If you own very little, then you probably don’t need a sophisticated tax plan to divide up assets, plan for charity, etc. However, if you want to designate who takes care of your children were you to die or have a serious medical emergency that would leave you incapacitated, then yes, you need to plan. That’s a ton better than having the state of Missouri or Kansas decide who gets to be in charge.
Do I need to plan if I’m not that old?
I like to tell people that it’s not your age that matters, but instead what your goals are. More importantly, your plan should be based on your life goals and not some arbitrary standard. So, if you are young and healthy and don’t have a ton of assets, then it’s likely that you don’t need an expensive estate plan – you just need the basics.
Estate Planning is confusing and I don’t know what to do.
Yes, this estate planning stuff can be confusing. Look, I went to law school, and have practiced this for years (I even ran the probate department for a large law firm), and I am constantly learning new techniques. The best idea is not to get overwhelmed with the complexity. Instead, stay focused on YOUR life goals. Let your attorney handle the details.
Find an Estate Planning Attorney in Kansas City
Please go to our Estate Planning, Wills, Trusts and Probate Pages to learn more. The Eastman Law Firm is a group of lawyers in the Kansas City metro area, that focus solely on your estate plan. Please call us today at (913)908-9113 or (816)224-3133.
Kansas City is a large metropolitan area located in the heart of the continental United States. It is the home of the Chiefs and Royals and it is known for its barbecue as well as its famous jazz district. Kansas City is also known as the city of fountains.
The Eastman Law Firm
URL of Map
Or Visit our Blue Springs location at: 1200 NW S Outer Rd., Blue Springs, MO 64015.
Call Jerry at (816)224-3133.