M. Levi Morris Attorney at Law, LLC
Estate & Probate Lawyer in Great Bend, KS
Estate planning can require the use of many different tools. The most well known estate planning tool is a will.
If you don't have a will, don't worry. The State of Kansas has a set of default rules that will determine who your heirs are and how much they will receive. But if you do not want the State of Kansas deciding who your heirs are, we can help. Whether a simple will, or a not so simple will, we can draft it for you and let you decide where your estate will go.
In addition to a will, there are numerous other estate planning tools at your disposal. Some items of property can be transferred with what is called a "joint-tenancy" deed. Today, real estate can be transferred upon death with a, you guessed it, "transfer on death" deed. Most financial accounts can be transferred by designating beneficiaries for a "pay on death" designation. For most folks, a will, a joint tenancy deed, and making sure all your accounts have a pay on death designation constitute a good estate plan.
And, of course, there is the trust. Whether or not your estate will be best served with a trust can be determined after a discussion of what is in your estate. Estate planning is not a one-size-fits-all process, and not everyone will truly benefit by having a trust. One of the primary purposes of a trust is to avoid probate. Probate is the process of administering your estate with court supervision. Using a trust to transfer your estate upon your death, unlike a will, removes the need for court supervision of your estate. Most people think that a trust will avoid the probate courts entirely. A trust, unlike a will removes the requirement of the court being involved in administering your estate. However, if your trust is poorly drafted, administered incorrectly or improperly, or is being handled too slowly, you could still end up in court. An experienced attorney can reduce the likelihood that your trust will end up in court.
A trust lowers the likelihood of court involvement in your estate, it can lower the cost of transferring your estate, and it can keep your estate private and out of the public eye.
Call me to speak with an attorney who can help you build your estate plan. Or, feel free to use the "contact us" feature and let us know about your situation and ask any questions you may have.