Estate Planning in Overland Park
Below is a great article on some ways to start the estate planning process in Overland park. Take a look and then feel free to call us with your thoughts, comments, etc.
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Easing the Burden: How to begin estate planning
Whatever the size of your financial estate, it is important to plan.
The legal and financial issues raised by your death or incapacity, will be more difficult and expensive for your loved ones without a proper estate plan. Unfortunately, most of us procrastinate, because thinking about and then planning for death or disability is an unpleasant prospect. It is far easier to focus on the more day-to-day concerns in our lives.
However, while estate planning may seem like a daunting task, it need not be. As with almost everything else, getting started is the hardest part.
A good estate plan will involve a number of legal documents, the most common of which are wills or revocable trusts, beneficiary designations, financial and health care powers of attorney and living wills. However, before any legal documents can be drafted, there are initial steps you will need to take and issues to which you must give at least some preliminary thought.
First: Consider yourself. If you become incapacitated, but do not die, who should manage your finances? Who should make decisions regarding your health care? What values are important to you regarding your health care?
Second: Consider your spouse. If you pass away, should everything go to your spouse? Do you have a blended family? Should part of your estate pass to your children even if you have a spouse? Have you signed a prenuptial agreement that addresses this?
Third: Consider your children. Who should raise them if they are minors? Who will be their guardian? Choosing a guardian will force you to decide what values are most important to you: religious beliefs, cultural identity, parenting styles, education, family size, geographical location, financial skills, just to name a few. Also, consider whether your children are mature enough to manage their inheritance. If not, the funds should be placed in a trust for their benefit. Who should be the trustee? The trustee will not only manage the trust funds, but also decide when and why to make distributions to your children.
Fourth: Consider your other beneficiaries. If you do not have a surviving spouse or children, who should receive your assets? Would you like to leave your money to other family members, your church, your favorite charities, or all of the above?
This initial phase of the estate planning process is the hardest because the non-financial decisions are always more difficult to make than the financial ones. Once these decisions have been made, however, the rest of the process should flow smoothly.
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