Transfer on Death of Ownership of a Limited Liability Company

By Jeff Wagoner, W M Law President


When we do an estate plan, our #1 goal is to try to accomplish what you want with your estate while simultaneously avoiding probate.  Sometimes, we just can do both, but that doesn’t keep us from trying.  So, we really look hard to find new ways to avoid probate – we call those “probate avoidance mechanisms.”  Some of the most common probate avoidance mechanisms are “Transfer on Death” designations.  You can designate a beneficiary to receive title to your motor vehicle in both Kansas and Missouri simply by filling out the “TOD” block on your title application.  You can transfer the title to your home or other real estate by using a “Beneficiary Deed”, which is also known as a “Transfer on Death Deed”.  But, what about your ownership interest in a limited liability company?  Well, that’s not quite so cut and dry, or at least it isn’t quite so easy.  The first thing we look at with a limited liability company (“LLC”) is the “Operating Agreement.”  You may have owned an LLC for a long time, and still have absolutely no idea what an Operating Agreement is.  No worries, because frankly, lots of […]

By | August 3rd, 2020|0 Comments

Trámites relacionados  un pariente que murió sin una última voluntad o testamento

Una de las cosas más consideradas que puede hacer por su familia es asegurarse de tener un plan de patrimonio actualizado, incluso si se encuentra en perfecto estado de salud. Ahorra una enorme cantidad de costos y estrés e incluso angustia tener sus asuntos en orden en caso de que fallezca inesperadamente. Este blog está escrito para aquellas personas que lamentablemente fallecieron recientemente y, para empeorar las cosas, ese ser querido no tenía un plan patrimonial. Si usted es la persona que tiene la responsabilidad de terminar el patrimonio de ese ser querido, es probable que se sienta abrumado en este momento. Probablemente también se sienta un poco nervioso, especialmente si hay otros miembros de la familia que dependen de usted para liquidar el patrimonio y compartir las ganancias con ellos. Si no se hace correctamente, incluso podría verse en frente de un tribunal para responder sobre lo que sucedió con la propiedad del difunto.


Muchas veces, hay rumores de que un familiar fallecido tenía activos que valían mucho más de lo que realmente eran. Por ejemplo, se presume que un miembro de la familia que siempre vivió en una casa bonita y conducía un automóvil lujoso tenía mucho dinero. Pero, […]

By | September 24th, 2019|0 Comments

Dealing with a relative who died without a will


By Jeff Wagoner, W M Law President

One of the most considerate things you can do for your family is to make certain that you have an up-to-date estate plan, even if you are in perfectly good health.  It saves a tremendous amount of cost and stress and even heartache to have your affairs in order in the event you pass away unexpectedly.  This blog is written for those people who have unfortunately had a loved one pass away recently, and to make matter worse, that loved one did not have an estate plan.  If you are the person who has the responsibility of wrapping up that loved one’s estate, you are likely feeling overwhelmed at the moment.  You are probably feeling a little nervous as well, especially if there are other family members who are depending upon you to liquidate the estate and share the proceeds with them.  If not done properly, you could even find yourself dragged into court to answer as to what happened to the decedent’s property.

Many times, there are rumors that a deceased family member had assets worth far more than they actually were.  For example, a family member who always lived in a nice house […]

By | September 24th, 2019|0 Comments

Escrituras de Beneficiario


La razón principal para tener un fideicomiso revocable es evitar la corte de sucesión. Pero, ¿sabía que muchas, en realidad “la mayoría” de las personas realmente no necesitan un fideicomiso revocable si su situación familiar es relativamente simple y hacen buen uso de los “mecanismos de transferencia no testamentarios”? Un mecanismo de transferencia no testamentario es simplemente una forma de cambiar el título de una propiedad sin obtener una orden del tribunal de sucesiones. Un ejemplo simple es usar una designación de “Indemnizable por Fallecimiento” en su cuenta corriente. Si ha incluido a alguien en la cuenta corriente como beneficiario de “Pagar en caso de fallecimiento” (también conocido como “POD”), entonces el banco le entregará automáticamente el dinero en esa cuenta a su beneficiario de POD una vez que esa persona presente su certificado de defunción al banco. Es super simple: no hay necesidad de abogados o tribunales.

Una gran herramienta para transferir bienes raíces que es igual de simple se conoce como una “Escritura de Beneficiario”. Una Escritura de Beneficiario es esencialmente como una designación POD en una cuenta bancaria, con la excepción de que es para bienes raíces. Es un poco más complicado porque querrá que un abogado prepare […]

By | April 16th, 2019|0 Comments

Beneficiary Deeds

By Jeff Wagoner, W M Law President

The main reason to have a revocable trust is to avoid probate.  But, did you know that many, actually probably “most”, people don’t really need a revocable trust if their family situation is relatively simple and they make good use of “non-probate transfer mechanisms.”

A non-probate transfer mechanism is simply a way to change the title on a piece of property without getting an order of the probate court.  A simple example is using a “Payable on Death” designation on your checking account.  If you have listed someone as a “Payable on Death” (aka “POD”) beneficiary on your checking account, then the bank will automatically give the money in that account to your POD beneficiary once that person presents your death certificate to the bank.

It is super simple – no need for lawyers or courts.  A great tool for transferring real estate that is just as simple is known as a “Beneficiary Deed.”  A Beneficiary Deed is essentially just like a POD designation on a bank account, with the exception that it is for real estate.  It is a little more complicated because you’ll want an attorney to draft that Beneficiary Deed for you, and […]

By | April 16th, 2019|0 Comments

Divorce and Estate Planning

We’d all like to think that once you have made a will and possibly done some other estate planning, that you’ll never have to worry about doing it again.  If an estate plan is done right AND you have no major life changes, that may very well be true.  I recently had a couple come see me who had done wills back in 1981.  They had them updated (amended via adding codicils) back in 1997.  And, for the most part, the wills were still pretty applicable today.  So, 1981 to 2018, with a minor updating in 1997 – I told them that they pretty much got their money’s worth out of those wills.  However, their life was pretty stable – they remained married that entire time and their children were already born when the wills were first drafted.  So, that was a relatively stable 37 years of their life.  Ironically, it wasn’t a change in their own marriage that led them to get a new set of wills done in 2018 – it was a situation in one of their children’s marriage that necessitated the new wills.  In this case, they were concerned about […]

By | January 11th, 2019|0 Comments

It’s the Holidays – Time for a Serious Discussion with your Loved Ones

By Jeff Wagoner, W M Law President

I absolutely love the holidays.  It is a wonderful time for me mainly because I get to spend time with family that I rarely see throughout the remainder of the year.  So, it’s a great time to catch up on their lives and listen to their joys and concerns about their life.  It’s also a great time to discuss some issues that are difficult to discuss, but may make a difficult time in the future a little easier.  Now, you don’t need to be in your golden years to have this discussion.  This advice applies to “twenty-somethings” just as much (maybe more in some ways) as it does with great-grandmas.  Last month, my blog was about the heart-breaking story that was shared by another attorney of when his family was in an horrific traffic accident that claimed the lives of both of his parents and an infant sibling.  He and his toddler aged sister survived.  His young parents had not done any sort of estate plan, and as a result, the two young surviving children became wards of the court for placement among family members.  Don’t let that happen to […]

By | December 7th, 2018|0 Comments

What Happens When the Unthinkable Happens?

By Jeff Wagoner, W M Law President

I attended a continuing legal education seminar a couple of weeks ago.  There were some very good speakers and some very good topics, but one speaker really caught my attention.  It wasn’t because he was a particularly good speaker or that he had great information for us.  It was because he shared a very personal story about heartbreak and turmoil in his own life.

 When he was a child, his family was in an horrific automobile accident.  It killed his mother, father and one of his siblings.  He was very young at the time, about 5 years old.  His younger sister, about 3 at the time, also survived the accident.  Unfortunately, his parents did not have an estate plan of any kind.  Luckily, well sort of, he had family on both his mother’s and father’s sides of the family that could care for him and his sister.  The problem was that the family could not agree on who would be the best to take care of the 2 surviving children.  So, a court case was opened to allow a judge to make that decision.

The judge temporarily placed […]

By | November 8th, 2018|0 Comments

Do I Really Need a Trust?

By Jeff Wagoner, W M Law President

Many times, I have clients show up for an initial consultation with the mindset that “I need a trust.”  They are absolutely dead-set that they must have a trust of some sort.  When I ask why they believe they need a trust, sometimes I get a very well-thought-out response and the client is correct – they DO need a trust.

However, more often than not, the client believes he or she needs a trust because somebody else has told them that they need a trust.  Upon digging further, it is generally because either that other person has a trust or because someone in that other person’s family passed away and had a trust.  Now, trusts are wonderful things – they can be used to do many things that a simple will cannot.  And they are great for avoid probate.  But I rarely recommend them.

Why don’t I recommend them often?  Well, first off, I believe in the KISS principle – simple over complex any day in my book.  I like to figure out what the simplest method is to accomplish a given goal, and oftentimes that means we can use a simple will along with some […]

By | October 25th, 2018|0 Comments

Estate planning is so NOT Important-and that’s why it is SO Important

By Doug Sisson, Probate and Bankruptcy Paralegal

At W M Law, we specialize in Estate Planning and probate. We breathe wills, trusts, affidavits, petitions so on and so forth.  We enjoy the fulfillment that our work brings us…But let’s stop for a second and inject a little honesty and perspective to the estate planning process.

Estate Planning: What IS Important vs. What IS NOT

Compared to life and death, love and grief – estate and financial planning seem pretty frivolous, and in the grand scheme of things – not that important. Here are a few examples:

  • Nurturing family relationships, grief, emotions and protecting family assets VS. Choosing who gets dad’s classic car, or mom’s jewelry set, or the family coin collection.
  • Recognizing the importance of keeping the family home, remembering the blood, sweat and tears put into paying off the home, and the importance of the memories created at the home Losing your home to qualify for Medicaid.
  • Admitting the relevance of decades of work spent building funds to secure a strong retirement Maximizing the tax and asset protections for inherited property.

Estate Planning – Allows loved ones to Focus on What Matters Most

Estate planning tools – powers of attorney, medical directives, wills and […]

By | October 3rd, 2018|0 Comments