Estate Planning Attorney in Sunset Hills, Missouri
A Comprehensive Estate Plan Can Offer You Peace of Mind
Death is a normal part of the total life process. However, no one can predict how long we will live. Everyone dies, and most of us are afraid of it. While dying is not something you want to think about, you can make things easier for yourself and your family if you prepare a well-developed estate plan ahead of time.
Everyone needs a comprehensive estate plan. It is not just for the aged and wealthy people. Regardless of the size of your estate, proper estate planning can give you peace of mind, knowing that your loved ones will have financial security no matter what happens to you. A top-ranking estate planning lawyer can help you understand the importance of estate planning.
At Doyel Law Firm, we provide legal advice to clients of all ages with the creation of a comprehensive estate plan. Our law office can help you deal with asset protection, trust administration, probate litigation, and other estate planning needs. Our hardworking legal team will help you protect your legacy, take care of your loved ones, and address end-of-life legal issues. Call us today to talk to one of our esteemed Sunset Hills estate planning attorneys.
What is Estate Planning?
You’ve worked hard for everything you earned throughout your life. Therefore, all your assets, finances, bank accounts, real estate properties, life insurance policy benefits, and other investments must be left in good hands when you die. All of these valuable assets can be protected in estate planning. A reliable estate planning lawyer in Sunset Hills can help you understand the benefits of creating a good estate plan.
Estate planning is not just for high-income earners and senior citizens. Having an estate plan can ease your worries by knowing that your intentions and wishes will be carried out when you become incapacitated or when you die. It involves various legal tools that you can use to protect your assets, extend your autonomy in case of incapacity, and secure your family’s future. The components of your estate plan will vary depending upon your assets and your future goals.
A last will and testament is a legal document that declares your wishes on how you want your estate to be managed and distributed after your death. Making a will is important because it can protect your surviving spouse, family members, loved ones, property, and inheritance when you die. You, as the testator or author of will, should identify your beneficiaries and heirs. You must clearly state your plans on how and what each of them should receive. A knowledgeable Sunset Hills MO estate planning attorney can help you create a will or revise existing wills to account for life’s changes.
Your will should include more than just the distribution of your assets. When you write a will, you can name a guardian for minor children, repay your remaining debts, protect your valued assets, and name a trusted individual (executor) to fulfill your final wishes. Your executor will be in charge of overseeing the transfer of assets and managing your estate.
When you die without creating a will, it is considered dying “intestate”. In this case, the laws of intestate succession will apply. All your assets, bank accounts, property, and guardianship of your minor children will be handled and distributed according to the intestacy laws in your state. Dying without a will can cause financial hardship and long court battles for your loved ones.
A trust is a fiduciary relationship that allows you (grantor) to give another party (trustee) the right to handle your assets for the benefit of your beneficiaries. This estate planning document ensures that your heirs do not squander their inheritance and can help prevent estate taxes from reducing the value of your estate. With the legal help of a skilled estate planning lawyer in Sunset Hills, you can create a trust to minimize estate taxes, protect assets, and spare your loved ones from having to go through the expensive and lengthy probate court process.
A trust can be made depending on its function and can be classified into two categories: testamentary and living trust. A testamentary trust can be created using a will. A trustee will be named in the document to control the distribution of assets according to the trustor’s wishes, following the trust document and its directives.
In contrast, living trusts allow you to hold assets for beneficiaries while dictating how and when they receive those assets when you die. The assets that you transfer into a living trust before your death doesn’t go through the probate process. Your appointed successor trustee will simply transfer the ownership to the beneficiaries you named in the trust.
Living trusts can be categorized as revocable or irrevocable. A revocable trust can be changed or revoked by the grantor during their lifetime. However, a revocable trust typically becomes irrevocable upon the death of the grantor. In contrast, irrevocable living trusts can’t be modified or terminated.
Powers of Attorney
A power of attorney (POA) is a legally binding document that allows you to appoint someone to manage your property, medical, or financial affairs. This document is essential if you’re incapacitated or not physically present to make an important decision on your behalf. You can authorize a trusted person as your “attorney-in-fact” to act on your behalf to make legal, financial, and/or healthcare decisions should you become disabled or incapacitated.
There are different types of POA depending on your estate planning needs. The decision-making power of an attorney-in-fact takes effect at different times depending on which POA you choose. It may be in the form of Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA), Healthcare Power of Attorney (HCPA), or Financial Power of Attorney (FPOA). Your appointed attorney-in-fact will have the legal authority to manage your assets, handle your finances, pay your bills, file required estate tax returns, and make tough healthcare decisions for you.
Probate is a formal legal proceeding that validates a will, appoints the executor who will administer the estate, and distribute assets to the intended beneficiaries. In the United States, probate laws may vary from state to state. Therefore, it is a good idea to consult our experienced Sunset Hills estate planning attorneys to determine whether probate litigation is necessary.
The probate process ends once all taxes and debts have been paid and all inheritance passed on. It usually takes between six months to a year. Since probate involves court and attorney fees, avoiding probate will save time and money. Creating a revocable living trust, naming a beneficiary, and owning property jointly are some of the ways to avoid probate.
Why Choose Doyel Law as Your Estate Planning Partner?
Effective estate planning is more than about simple wills and trusts. It is how you plan and protect your family’s future. Typically, as you pass through the various stages of your life, your estate plan will need to be reviewed and updated to mark the changes that occur during those stages.
Regardless of your age and financial situation, our competent Sunset Hills estate planning attorneys at Doyel Law can help you make a good estate plan that addresses your estate planning goals. When you’re ready to take control over protecting your assets and securing your legacy, our estate planning law firm can help. We will ensure every aspect of your estate plan is up-to-date and meets current standards of the law. We will work with you every step of the way until you are confident that your future is secured.
Call us now and schedule an initial consultation or contact us online to learn more about how we can help.