Estate planning can take many forms besides the will. In fact, the term “estate planning” refers to a comprehensive plan for how all of a person’s assets are to get handled when they pass away. A will is an integral part of an estate plan, but there are other estate planning tools that you can use to accomplish other goals that you may have with regards to the things that you own.
One thing that you can accomplish through estate planning is getting certain things that you own into the hands of the people that you wish to have them as quickly as possible after you pass away. You can also lower the amount of tax that the people who inherit money or property from you will pay. A Kansas estate planning attorney can assist you with both of those things by creating documents that can transfer those items to your beneficiaries upon the event of your passing.
Real estate and vehicles are two types of things that you could transfer to your beneficiaries immediately upon your death. An estate planning attorney can help you draft the documents that are necessary for transfers of vehicles or real estate that you own when you die to become effective at the time of your death. If you own real estate, your attorney can help you create a Transfer on Death Deed in which you state the full legal description of the property that you wish to transfer and the name of the beneficiary whom you wish to take ownership of it when you die. After you draft the Transfer on Death Deed, you must also record it with the Register of Deeds in the county where the piece of property is located.
A similar document can be drafted to transfer ownership of a vehicle upon your death. Your attorney can help you record a title transfer with the Tag Department which designates a beneficiary who will take title to the vehicle upon the death of the title holder.
Documents that transfer ownership upon death are useful estate planning tools because they enable you, the current owner, to enjoy all of the benefits of owning those items during your lifetime. What’s more, since you own the real estate or vehicles described in those documents, you are free to sell or give away the vehicles or property at any time or change the beneficiary on any vehicle or property at any time. Transfer on Death documents also keeps the real estate and vehicles that are subject to them out of the probate process. This means that the people who you designate as beneficiaries will not have to wait for the probate court to distribute the vehicles or property to them, and they won’t have to pay estate tax on them like they would on items inherited through the remainder of your estate that gets disposed of in your will.
To learn more about estate planning in Kansas, call the Wichita law office of J. Joseph Weber, P.A. at 316-265-7802, or contact us through our website to schedule a consultation.