As a parent, your goal is always to protect your children and to do what is in their best interests. Part of that is planning for their future, even after you are gone.
With the help of an estate planning attorney, you can prepare for the worst case scenario and ensure that no matter what, your children will continue to live the type of life you want for them. Kevin Kenney can help you plan the future you want for your child, complete with all of the stability, permanence and opportunities you hope to provide for them — even if you are not physically able to provide it.
Read on to learn more about the benefits of estate planning and the services Kevin offers as an estate planning attorney in Kansas City.
What Does an Estate Planning Attorney Do?
As an estate planning attorney in Kansas City, Kevin Kenney can help you complete all of the necessary steps to create a plan for your family’s future. His estate planning services include:
- Providing the information you need about estate planning in Kansas or Missouri so you can make the best decisions for your family
- Walking you through each step of the legal process to create your will, trust, powers of attorney, and more
- Filing the necessary paperwork to ensure your estate plan is completed according to your wishes
- Making updates to your estate plan when you experience a major life event, such as the addition of a new child, a move to a new home or a change in occupation
What is Estate Planning?
Estate planning helps parents prepare and arrange for the disbursement of their estate after they are gone. When a family begins the estate planning process, they will make many important decisions to help protect the future of their children and their property.
There are several important components in every estate plan. When a family works with an estate planning attorney, they can accomplish each of the following:
Guardianship Designation for Minor Children
Part of every estate plan is the Last Will and Testament. Among other things, this document allows parents to designate a guardian for their child or children in the event of the parents’ passing.
Designating a guardian in your will essentially binds the judge to appoint that person as your child’s legal guardian, giving you the peace of mind that your child will be cared for by the guardian of your choice. This designation also protects your child from custody challenges among relatives.
As parents, you also need to plan for your children’s financial future. There are two primary ways to do this: You can either let your child’s guardian handle the money in a court-appointed conservator role, or you can create a trust, which allows an independent trustee to manage the money.
If you choose to designate your child’s guardian as a conservator, that role will end when the child turns 18, and all of the money will be transferred to your child at that time. Alternatively, if you create a trust, you can extend the trustee’s responsibilities for as long as you choose, often until your child reaches age 40. In these arrangements, incremental distributions will be made to your child over time until the trust ends.
Trusts are beneficial for a number of reasons. Unlike conservatorships, they allow your child to access your finances without managing all of the money in your estate at once. Having a plan in place ahead of time also simplifies financial decisions for the recipients of your property. In addition, you can plan for incapacity or disability, designating a person to manage your funds in the event that you were no longer able to manage them yourself.
Power of Attorney
While wills and trusts are documents that primarily plan for after death, durable powers of attorney are documents that are useful during your lifetime. These documents are not always included in an estate planning attorney’s services, but Kevin encourages every family to consider designating a person to act on your behalf in case of incapacity or disability.
Kevin completes two types of powers of attorney: one for non-healthcare issues, and the other exclusively for healthcare planning. The healthcare power of attorney is combined with a healthcare directive or a “living will,” which allows you to determine your wishes for end-of-life medical care — for example, whether you would like to be kept alive by machinery when you cannot communicate your wishes.
As parents, estate planning is one of the most important steps you can take to plan for your family’s future. It is important to work with an experienced estate planning attorney in Kansas City who is familiar with the legal nuances of this process, many of which are income and estate-tax driven.
Kevin Kenney has years of experience with estate planning in Kansas and Missouri and can provide all of the services you need to achieve the peace of mind your family deserves. To learn more about Kevin’s estate planning services in Missouri and Kansas, contact him today to schedule a consultation.