What is Estate Planning?
The term “Estate Planning” is a very broad term and can encompass many things. However, on a very basic level, Estate Planning typically consists of planning what happens to you and your assets if you are alive but become incapacitated, as well as what happens to your assets when you die. Historically, there was often quite a bit of “tax planning” involved in Estate Planning, however, with the estate tax exemption (meaning the amount of money you can pass to your heirs without incurring “estate tax” or “death tax”) at record high levels, there are only a select few individuals that have this concern anymore.
Why is Estate Planning Important?
There are few things that I can think of that are more important than making sure your family, your spouse, your children, or other desired beneficiaries someday receive the benefit of all of the assets you have worked so hard to attain. There are many threats out there and making sure your loved ones are protected from litigation, probate court, and other threats is something that most people want and it is often achievable. Estate Planning attorneys provide peace of mind and keep the “what ifs” away on those sleepless nights.
Who Needs Estate Planning?
Everyone needs it. Specifically, the following types of people probably have a greater need:
- Anyone who has assets; so that they can make sure such assets get to their desired beneficiaries;
- Anyone who has minor children, so as to name a guardian, conservator, and/or a trustee for such children if something happens to their parent.
- Anyone who wants to protect a beneficiary from themselves;
- Anyone who wants to name family members in specific percentages or amounts
- Anyone who wants to name beneficiaries outside of their family;
- Anyone who has a “significant other” who they desire to name as primary beneficiary, but is not legally married to that person;
- Anyone who has special guidelines or rules regarding the assets, that they want to be followed after they are gone.
- Anyone who wants to disinherit a child or close family member
- Anyone who wants to favor step children in their estate planning
- Anyone who has a split or blended family or is in a second marriage or greater
How Much Does Estate Planning Cost?
There is a wide variation of what services an estate planning attorney may provide, based on your specific situation, most cases are somewhere between a couple hundred dollars (very basic) to a couple thousand (more advanced). One of the main reasons we offer free consultations for new estate planning clients is so that we can meet, see what is involved, and give a quote, without the client having to pay anything to simply see what we would charge for various services.
What is an Estate Planning Attorney?
An Estate Planning attorney is someone who can advise you regarding your family and your assets, including both issues surrounding what would happen to you or your assets if you were alive but become incapacitated, or what would happen to your assets and your family when you pass away. Estate Planning attorneys provide comfort and peace of mind.
Estate Planning in Springfield
At the Piatchek Law Firm, attorney Joseph J. Piatchek is an estate planning lawyer for many clients throughout the state of Missouri. Our law office understands that each family’s situation is unique, and most families have special, overriding concerns that must be addressed. We typically provide a free consultation, so that you can ask questions and better understand the process of planning your estate. At the end of your meeting, we usually offer a reasonable, flat rate to handle your entire case, start to finish. Additionally, we often assist business owners with estate planning, and we understand the special concerns that come with business succession planning.
We will help you decide on an approach that best meets your needs, and we will prepare and execute any documents necessary to establish and implement your estate plan. In addition, we can give legal advice on many springfield mo estate planning strategies, including the following:
- Revocable Living Trusts
- Last Will and Testament
- Funding a Revocable Living Trust
- Financial Power of Attorney and Health Care Power of Attorney
- Living Wills and Health Care Directives
- Joint Titling of Assets
- Avoiding Probate, including Payable on Death (POD) and Transfer on Death (TOD) Designations
- Irrevocable Trusts, Including Asset Protection Trusts
- Special Needs Trusts
- Succession Planning & Estate Planning for Business Owners
- Elder Law and Nursing Home Planning
- Estate Planning for Non-Traditional Families
How Long Have You Been Thinking About Planning Your Estate?
How long have you been thinking about creating your estate plan and simply not gotten around to it? Remember, you don’t have to have all of the answers right now, nor must you even know all of the questions. Perhaps it is that type of thinking that is actually causing you to put off talking to an estate planning lawyer – thinking that it is a big, overwhelming process that requires a lot of knowledge and answers right now. However, that is exactly why we are here – to help identify issues and guide you through the process while keeping it as simple and painless as possible.
The only thing you need right now is our phone number: 417-882-5858. Considering giving us a call and simply committing to start the process by setting up your first meeting (which is typically free). There is no obligation or cost to discuss your options with us, whether you meet with our lawyers in person or by phone.
We typically begin the process by asking you questions, so that we can fully understand your family, the nature of your assets, and your specific goals. We also encourage our clients to ask us any and all questions that they have. Next, we will fully explain the different strategies we may employ, such as wills, trusts, titling of assets, and gifting, as well as powers of attorney and health care directives. Our attorneys will focus on helping you distribute your assets as you wish, and we can help you avoid probate court if desired. We will do our very best to answer your questions, so that you can make informed decisions.
Wills and Trusts for Clients of All Ages and Stations in Life
Have you put your Springfield estate planning into place yet? This is an important question at any age and station in life. If you have just started your career or a family, you may believe that wills and trusts are items you will prepare many years from now. However, especially if you have children, you should strongly consider preparing (at the very least) a basic last will and testament. In this document, you and/or your spouse will nominate a guardian and conservator of your children in case you should ever not be around. In addition, we encourage you to create a trust fund for your children so you can fully control who would hold your children’s money in such a scenario, how it could be used, and more.
If you began your family or career many years ago (perhaps your children are already grown), you know that these issues are important. However, as is all too common, you may be putting your estate plan off. Let’s be honest – no one likes to think about these issues. We understand exactly why you have been procrastinating. But what if we could make the process simple and straightforward?
Whether you are young or old and whether you have a modest estate or substantial net worth, effective estate planning can protect your estate and alleviate stress and anxiety for your loved ones. At the Piatchek Law Firm, our estate planning attorneys work closely with individuals who need to formalize their wishes regarding the distribution of their property and the care of their minor children. We can help you take care of these issues quickly, easily, and cost-effectively.
Additionally, we regularly assist families of all shapes and sizes, including “non-traditional families.” Please view our page “Estate Planning for Non-Traditional Families” to explore the following services:
- Estate Planning for Divorced Parents
- Estate Planning for Single-Parent Families
- Estate Planning for Blended Families
- Estate Planning for Same-Sex Couples
- Estate Planning for Unmarried Couples
For caring and compassionate legal representation, contact our law office to arrange a confidential consultation. When you call our offices, you can speak to an attorney, not just to our staff. Please call us today at 417-882-5858 to begin the process of creating an estate plan in Springfield, Missouri.