Are you in the 67%?
A recent survey showed 67% of Americans do not have ANY type of estate planning document. A plan answers vital questions, including:
What happens to my property when I die?
Who manages my money if I cannot due to illness or age?
Who makes decisions about my medical care if I can’t?
What happens to my kids if I die while they are minors?
If you would like to learn more about what is involved in estate planning – whether a will, a trust, or other questions – I offer a FREE initial consultation. Contact my office today to set up an appointment.
What are common reasons clients contact my office for an estate plan?
- “I don’t want to leave a mess for my family.”
- To avoid infighting after your death or if you are incapacitated.
- To protect your loved ones
- To assure your property goes only to those you want to receive it.
› A relative who needs protection from creditors, a spouse or an ex-spouse.
› A loved one with a disability.
What kinds of events typically prompt clients to contact me to learn more about an estate plan?
- Purchase of a home.
- Retirement or another age-related milestone.
- Birth of a child or grandchild.
- A medical diagnosis or a serious accident.
- Death of a loved one or a friend.
- A vacation, particularly if it is out of the country.
- News about current events.
What are the reasons 67% of people have no estate plan
“I know I need to, but I haven’t gotten around to it”
“It’s too complicated.”
“It’s too expensive.”
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is an estate plan?
To most people an estate plan means a will. That is one of several important parts of a plan. These are the main documents of an estate plan:
Upon death, a will directs property division, guardianship, payment of debt and more. For some people with large properties or family issues, a trust may be necessary.
Trusts are useful for those with larger estates, family issues or who expect a disability. Unlike a will, a trust comes into effect during your lifetime. A trust avoids probate court on your death and allows your matters to be settled with more privacy. Creating a trust is more expensive and complicated than a will, but worthwhile when it is needed.
An advance health care directive is necessary in case you are sick or injured and cannot make your own health care decisions. This document assures there is someone to speak for you and your wishes.
Power of Attorney
A Power of Attorney allows someone you trust to manage your finances should you be unable to do so due to illness or disability.
What happens if I die without a will?
State law and the court direct who receives your property. That may – or may not – be your plan. Don’t leave important life decisions to anyone but you.
Can I change my will?
Yes, absolutely! In fact, it is common for my clients to amend their will or trust as life happens and circumstances change.
Do I need to be wealthy to have an estate plan?
No. Middle class Americans – in other words, most of us – own cars, furniture, real estate, family heirlooms, firearms, bank or investment accounts, retirement benefits. Without a will, who ends up with those?
Regardless of income or assets, you also need a plan for who makes medical or financial decisions for you if you are disabled, or who will be the guardian of your minor children.
When should I update my estate plan?
Common events that prompt clients to review their plans include:
- Marriage or divorce of yourself or a family member
- Birth or adoption of a child or a grandchild
- Death of a loved one
- Actual or anticipated receipt of an inheritance
- A severe injury or accident
- Your buy more property, or sell property.
- You would like someone else to manage your financial affairs or make medical decisions for you if you cannot do so.
I was raised in Sheridan, and graduated from Harvard University and the University of Wyoming with honors. In addition to my legal background, I have decades of experience in business and as an entrepreneur. This background enables me to better serve you.
My law practice passion is estate planning – understanding how your wishes and needs are drafted into documents like wills, trusts, powers of attorney and advance medical directives.
My clients, of course, often have other needs, and I am happy to help with real estate, LLCs, corporations – even pre-nuptial agreements – and a host of matters that arise in the course of representation.
Our firm, Kisling Law, LLC, is a general practice, though I personally decline litigation including divorces, child custody matters, and personal injury. For clients with those concerns, I can make a referral to another local attorney.