We find that many clients misunderstand the use of wills. A will is similar to a letter or direction to the named executor and judge of the Probate Court expressing your desires. However, it only controls the property that is subject to probate administration. This means it only controls property that is in your name alone at your death that does not have a joint tenant or beneficiary designation, or it has not been transferred to a revocable living trust.
If you do not have a will and have property that is just in your name at your death, the State of Kansas has a plan for the distribution of this property. The intestacy laws are the state’s plan to pass property in the event that you have not created a Will. Each person’s situation is different, but intestacy laws in Kansas are such that property could end up passing to your parents, children, siblings, aunts, uncles or even cousins. If you do not want the state to dictate how this property is passed, then you need to create some alternative. That alternative is either a Will or a Trust. To better determine what types of property are subject to Probate, please see the Probate discussion in the following section.
Our firm drafts wills for many clients. Wills are a perfect piece of the estate plan for the young couple with some assets who want to plan for the disposition of their property and to name guardians for any minor children they may have. Wills are also a good tool for an individual who may be older and doesn’t have many assets but wants to make sure that property passes a certain way. For a will to be valid in Kansas, it must be executed in a certain way and our firm makes sure that all formalities are followed. For more information on Wills, see the Q&A section.
The one drawback to a will is that the property controlled by the will must go through probate. Probate proceedings can be very time consuming. This hinders the distribution of assets to your heirs or designated beneficiaries and can cause unnecessary hardships on the people that you want to provide for. However, our firm takes great pride in providing individualized plans for clients and we realize that a trust is not an option for everyone. That is why we are happy to provide clients with a Will-based plan that meets their needs. Understandably, it is often coordinated with Joint Tenancy and Death Beneficiary Designations.
In line with our firm’s goal of creating individualized plans, our Will-based plans also include the following documents in addition to your Will: Durable Power of Attorney, Health Care Power of Attorney, Personal Property Memorandum, Living Will (also known as a Medical Directive), and HIPAA Releases.
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Larson and Brown has over 34 years of estate planning legal experience, but we do much more than simply practice law. We are personally invested in our community and work hard to meet the needs of individuals who seek our help. That’s why we build great relationships with our clients by providing valuable information, guidance, and support for current concerns, as well as long term planning.
We care. We listen. We counsel.
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(316) 729-0100 or use the follow the button below and send us an email. We look forward to working with you.