If you are considering an estate plan, there are a number of issues that you should consider when deciding which estate planning tools are appropriate for your unique set of circumstances. The most common concerns many people have include: (1) minimizing estate taxes paid by beneficiaries; (2) avoiding the delay and expense of the probate process; and (3) ensuring one’s legacy is distributed according to one’s wishes. While these are appropriate issues that should guide the development of an effective estate plan, many estate planning strategies fall short of their intended goals for a variety of reasons, which may include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Failure to Focus on Tax Consequences Prior to Death: Many estate plans focus too heavily on what happens after the person creating the state plan dies. An experienced Kansas Estate Planning Attorney at the Weber Law Office also focuses on minimizing tax obligations while our client is still alive. We may be able to use a revocable living trust to allow an individual to maintain control of his or her assets prior to death while providing for distribution according to one’s wishes after death.
- Lack of Strategic Estate Planning: When individual estate planning documents are prepared without careful contemplation of a comprehensive estate plan, an estate planning device intended to have a particular effect might have unintended consequences, such as creating unwanted tax liabilities. As a knowledgeable and experienced estate planning lawyer, Mr. Weber carefully reviews the assets, liabilities and goals of our client in the context of potential issues that our client has not necessarily considered. We then construct an estate plan that takes into account all appropriate considerations, which may include:
- Tax consequences to the client and beneficiaries
- Creditor protection to both our client and beneficiaries
- Long-term care issues
- Client’s wishes for distribution of the estate
- Efficiency of distribution including cost and delays
- Control of assets and income
- Poorly Drafted Estate Planning Documents: Estate planning documents must be clearly drafted and properly executed. Our Kansas Estate Planning Law Firm is sometimes asked to handle a probate matter based on documents that fail to address relevant issues, lack clear language, or are improperly executed. When we prepare an estate plan, we anticipate potential issues so we can preempt problems and challenges in the future. We frequently see contested probate matters arise when typing services, paralegals, computer programs, and other non-attorney services fail to properly prepare estate planning documents or to take measures to implement the plan, such as funding a trust.
- Failure to Account for Changes in the Law: The laws that impact estate planning change frequently because of the wide range of issues covered by estate plans, including Medicaid planning, taxes, distribution of assets, asset protection, and incapacity. The Estate Planning Lawyers at our law firm continually review changes in state and federal law that may affect our clients. We contact our clients when the laws change to apprise our clients of the change in the law and discuss appropriate options in responding to the change.
If you have questions about estate planning issues, we welcome the opportunity to talk to you and answer your questions. We invite you to call the Kansas Estate Planning Lawyer at the Weber Law Office at (316) 265-7802 or to submit an inquiry form through this website to schedule your initial consultation.