FAQ’s on Estate Planning

Does everyone need a will?

ANSWER: Not necessarily. It’s a good idea for most people, but may times the same goals can be accomplished easily and quickly without one.

Why should I do estate planning now? I’m young, and have no plans on dying soon.

ANSWER: Few people do. Yet every year people die unexpectedly and leave their families in often bitter turmoil over how to proceed with your wishes. You’ve never seen the ugly side of human nature until you see people fighting over an inheritance. And it doesn’t have to be very much money. We’ve seen families ripped apart over disputes over personal items that aren’t worth $1,000.00.

Can’t I just write out my wishes, sign it, and have it notarized?

ANSWER: You can certainly do that, but there’s no guarantee it’ll be effective. Will statutes are very specific in their requirements, so as to prevent fraud. For example, if it doesn’t’ have two independent witnesses it’s no good. And doing it that way almost guarantees your assets will have to go through probate.

Doing a will avoids probate, right?

ANSWER: WRONG! A will is just a flight plan. It does NOT avoid probate in and of itself!

How can I avoid inheritance taxes?

ANSWER: Missouri has no inheritance tax. There’s a federal tax, called the Estate Tax, that is in effect an inheritance tax. However, it doesn’t even apply unless your assets are in the millions.

I want my assets to go to my children, so I just added them to all my assets like my house and bank accounts. That’s ok, isn’t it?

ANSWER: It might be…it might be disastrous. This is what we lawyers call a poor man’s will. Often it works just fine. Occasionally it’s disastrous. What if that son you added to your bank account gets sued for a million dollars, and loses. Can they get part of that bank account? You bet they can. What if that daughter you added to your house has a financial disaster and has to file bankruptcy? Can the bankruptcy court take part of your house? You bet they can. There’s a right way, and a wrong way, to do this. We’ll show you the right way.

Call us at 816-795-7714 now and we can discuss your estate planning needs!