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  • Writer's pictureNorthland Elder Law


Estate planning is an often overlooked aspect of financial planning, though if done properly, it can have a lasting impact on your family's future. It's important to have an estate plan in place even if you won't reap the benefits of it directly. Without a proper estate plan, your assets may be left in legal-limbo after you're gone, which can lead to unnecessary headaches and expenses for your beneficiaries. Estate Planning Attorney's like those at Northland Elder Law of Kansas City can help you draw up the necessary legal paperwork to secure your financial legacy and give you peace of mind as you grow older.

How Does an Estate Plan Differ From a Trust or Will?

Wills and Trusts are key aspects of developing estate plans, though they don't always account for every end-of-life scenario. Estate plans involve designating a power of attorney, drawing up living wills, and establishing any other kind of advance directive that allows you to make decisions about end-of-life care well in advance. Your estate planning lawyer will also help to minimize any estate or inheritance taxes, and refer you to a financial advisor if deemed necessary. After you pass away, they will assist the executor of your will in transferring assets to your beneficiaries and help with any probate matters should that become necessary.

Potential Probate Delays, Costs & Privacy Issues

Another great reason to have an estate plan is to minimize the probate process and it's associated delays, costs, and potential loss of privacy. Among the top concerns with probate are:

  • Loss of privacy: The information in Probate Court is public record, meaning anyone can access it. For example, creditors or relatives could gain access to your probate records to challenge the terms of your will.

  • Expenses: Probate costs can add up quickly, even for the most cut and dry cases. Attorney's fees and court costs may end up taking up to 5% of the value of the estate.

  • Unnecessary Delays: An average probate can take a year or longer. With the proper planning in place, these delays can often be mitigated or avoided altogether.

How Much Does An Estate Planning Lawyer Cost?

Attorney fees for estate planning will vary depending on the size and nature of the estate. Elder Law firms typically charge an initial starting fee to meet with your attorney for 1-2 hours to discuss the broad strokes of your estate planning goals. Depending on how early in life you initially visit an estate planning attorney, there’ll likely be some minimal long-term fees for your estate plan maintenance. For example, say you and your spouse first establish your estate plan when you're both 55. If your spouse passes away at 78, you’ll probably need to readjust your estate plan over the years depending on a variety of circumstances. Your estate planning attorney will discuss all of this with you in advance and likely check in from time to time to discuss any life changes that need to be considered in your estate plan (new heirs, unexpected financial issues, etc.).

How Do I Know If I Need an Estate Planning Attorney?

At Northland Elder Law, we believe everyone should have an Estate Plan. Depending on the nature of your assets, planning your estate can be relatively simple, or it can be a complex task with hundreds of tough decisions that you'll have to make. The estate planning attorneys at Northland Elder Law can help you decide on a plan that fits your unique situation. With the help of the qualified professionals at Northland Elder Law, you can solidify your legacy and know that your family will be taken care of once you're gone.

Proper planning must consider the unique circumstances of each family so that the documents are drafted in the correct way to ensure the planning will work. We have read financial power of attorney documents created by other professionals that are worded in a way that does not allow for nursing home Medicaid planning. Unfortunately, in some of these cases, it was too late to get a proper financial attorney document signed as the individual became incapacitated, and therefore the families were forced to spend down all of the assets. Avoid this devastating result by obtaining correct legal advice from Northland Elder Law.


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