If you are the responsible person for wrapping up the estate of a loved one who has passed away, there are some very important timelines to consider. One of those applies when the loved one had a Last Will and Testament. In those cases, you must act relatively quickly to open an estate and admit the will or else the Last Will and Testament will be invalid. Each state has its own timeline. Since we practice in Kansas and Missouri only, we’ll stick with those states. In Missouri, you have one year after the decedent’s death to admit a will to probate. On the Kansas side, though, that time limit is only 6 months. If the will fails to be admitted within those time periods, that will becomes invalid. At that point, the rules of intestate succession will determine who obtains the property of the estate. So, if you are named or believe that you are named as a beneficiary of a will, it is in your best interests to ensure that the will is admitted to probate promptly after the death of your loved one, particularly if you are not a person or entity who would inherit via the […]
By Doug Sisson, W M Law Paralegal
Your beneficiaries’ fondness of one another may be out of your control, in life or death. With that in mind, the following tips and considerations will help you avoid future litigation, or at least minimize it to avoid that steep attorney bill many fail to account for: “The afternoon knows what the morning never suspected.” – Robert Frost
- Plan when you are healthy
When you fall ill, all of you mental and physical resources should be devoted to getting better, not drafting an estate plan. One should devise an estate plan and ponder their family dynamics while you are well and of sound mind. If you wait until you fall ill to draft your plan, it may be poorly drafted, or may not be completed at all. Devising a plan while you are well also relieving the burden from family members who may be left guessing your final wishes or medical decisions.
- Seek quality independent legal advice free from undue influence
Online resources (such as this blog) can aid in a rough idea of what you will need, but not much more than that. DIY estate plans can also create a huge liability as they […]
By Ana Ballesteros, W M Law Paralegal
Estate Planning can be a difficult conversation to have with your love ones. People generally do not like to think about what would happen if a loved one were to pass away either suddenly or expectedly. What would happen to the house? The cars? How would the sentimental things get distributed? The purpose of an Estate Plan is not only to ensure that the transition moves as peaceful as possible without having any fights between siblings or step-family members but also to give you peace of mind that your wishes are being respected. Here the 5 things to talk about with your family when preparing for your Estate Plan.
How to plan your Estate Plan: The reason for an estate plan, is to ensure that your belongings do not go through probate. A death is already difficult, not to mention having to go through a legal process for your family to keep what already belongs to them, your legacy. Talk to them about what will need to be included and what you think is best to pass on right away. If you do not feel comfortable letting them know what each will get, you do […]
By Doug Sisson, W M Law Paralegal
Misconception #1 – Estate Planning is only for old people
Accidents happen, unless you are immortal… A living trust is an important tool to safeguard a single person or family of any age. Think of a trust as your “invisible buddy” that can speak for you when you are unable to. A living trust not only guards your assets, it guides your loved ones and keeps them from guessing as to your intentions. Another valuable tool is managing money should you leave your estate to a young person or even a minor child. With a trust you can appoint a person to manage the trust until your children (or grandchildren) are of an age you decide.
Misconception #2 – Estate Plans are for the Ultra Wealthy 1% of the Population
If you own property, you need an estate plan. A Revocable “Living” Trust is a very versatile tool to help divide and protect your assets and leave instructions for your own healthcare as well as others. A living trust can benefit you in many of the following ways:
- Avoiding Probate: Probate litigation is a costly and lengthy process your loved ones will want to avoid.
- Avoiding Taxes: A […]
By Jeff Wagoner, W M Law President
Well, it’s the holidays, and likely be spending time with your family (for better or for worse!). Oftentimes, the discussion will center around the kids in the family, the local sports teams and maybe even a little bit of politics. You might even discuss health issues and concerns, especially regarding the senior members of your family. Although we like to think happy thoughts during the holidays, I would suggest that spend at least a few minutes with your family members discussing your estate plan and your desires for healthcare decisions in the event you aren’t able to make them for yourself. It doesn’t have to be a downer and it doesn’t have to bring tears to everyone’s eyes. But, it can provide a great deal of relief and call into mind the more important things in life, especially at a time when everyone is busy with the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.
If you have an estate plan, you likely have made designations of certain family members who you want to make decisions for you in the event that you cannot. Generally, these decisions take two forms: financial or property decisions and then […]