You’ve been named in a Last Will and Testament as an Executor of a Kansas Estate, so now what do you do? Before you begin your role as Executor, here are a few things you might want to know.
As Executor, you have the responsibility of distributing the assets of the Estate to the intended beneficiaries, pursuant to the decedent’s Last Will and Testament. You must understand complex legal and/or financial concepts during the course of your job. As a result, Executors should hire an experienced probate attorney to assist them with the probate process and help them avoid costly mistakes. Here is a basic summary of what you can expect the probate process to include:
Probate is a judicial process whereby the decedent’s assets are transferred to his or her heirs or other beneficiaries. Probate also can be referred to as an estate administration. In Kansas, your estate will fall under one of two categories: testate or intestate. If the decedent had a Last Will and Testament, he or she would have a testate estate. An intestate estate occurs when the decedent died leaving no Last Will and Testament and the state laws of intestacy determine who is entitled to the decedent’s assets.
Typically, the surviving family members of the decedent will seek the counsel of an experienced probate attorney to navigate the probate process. The attorney will determine whether the Last Will and Testament is valid, conclude whether a probate is necessary, and will advise the Executor or Estate Administrator in his or her duties.
Because November is Long-term Care Awareness Month, for the past few weeks we’ve been talking about Medicaid planning. Those of us who work with Medicaid planning and elder care services know what Medicaid planning can and cannot do for a person, but do you?
The purpose of Medicaid planning is to preserve your assets and set up your affairs in such a way that “the State” will pay the majority of the nursing home care costs, if or when the time comes. With good Medicaid planning, you should need only to contribute your income toward nursing home care costs. With Medicaid planning, you should not need to sell assets in order to pay for your long term care. If you have a spouse, with Medicaid planning you may be able to preserve income for your spouse rather than paying it to the nursing home in certain circumstances.
Long-term Care (LTC) broadly refers to medical and social services designed to support the needs of people living with chronic health problems that affect their ability to perform everyday activities. Long-term care services include traditional medical services, social services, and housing. Odds are, the majority of people over the age of 65 will need LTC at some point, but most people don’t plan for it. Sure, people think about and plan for retirement, but rarely are LTC costs factored into such a plan. If you require nursing home care, in our experience, your costs could be as much as $84,000.00 or more a year. For one person in western Kansas—that can be quite the unexpected expense.
What are some ways you can pay for LTC should nursing home care be required?
Sometimes our best laid plans simply don’t work. We typically don’t plan on illness, being in an accident, or early on-set Alzheimer’s. When life doesn’t happen like we plan, we need to be able to talk to someone well-versed in long-term care planning who can help develop a new plan that accomplishes our goals.
Long-term care crisis planning can mean many things, but ultimately it is based on the notion that a major, unplanned life event occurred, and you need to figure out how to move forward with care and address the costs of such care.
Here are a few of the ways we can help you:
Davis & McCann P. A. has named Mary Beth Helfrich, as their new marketing director. Helfrich brings over 20 years of legal experience to the position as well as multiple years in advertising, marketing and education.
Helfrich will be responsible for all forms of traditional and digital communication for the firm, as well as coordinating educational conferences and speaking engagements. Helfrich is a graduate of St. Mary of the Plains College with a B.A. in journalism (minor in Business Administration), as well as Ft. Hays State University with a B. A. in elementary education.
Attorney Kristina Crawford of Davis & McCann, P. A. located in Dodge City, Kansas, recently attended a specialized course on key legal technical concepts aimed at Medicaid planning and planning for individuals and families in crisis situations.
Elder law attorneys provide specialized legal services in the areas of estate planning, elder law, Medicaid, and Special Needs Planning. Specialized training is required to provide competent service in these areas and ensure proper implementation of legal strategies.
With many senior citizens today facing long-term costs of hundreds of thousands of dollars, Ms. Crawford can knowledgeably help clients figure out how to pay for nursing home, assisted living facility or home health care without depleting their hard-earned assets.
Clients should have confidence that Ms. Crawford will not only be proficient in this area of law, but also that she will draft comprehensive documents to support the implemented strategies and ensure proper execution of the clients’ plan.
Medicaid planning allows Attorney Kristina Crawford at Davis & McCann, P. A. to save their clients not only hundreds of thousands of dollars but also the stress of how to pay for long term care. This is only one example of the valuable elder law services the firm provides.
The law firm of Davis & McCann, P. A. is celebrating attorney Kristina J. Crawford’s first year anniversary. Ms. Crawford joined Tamara L. Davis and Megan L. McCann in the firm on September 1, 2015, and has focused her practice primarily on estate planning and related matters.
Kristina is a native of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and is a graduate of Berryhill High School. She attended Greenville College in Greenville, Illinois, where she graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Public Relations in 2010. She received her Juris Doctorate from Washburn University School of Law and graduated with Honors in 2015. While attending law school, Ms. Crawford served as a Staff Member for the Washburn Law Journal and was actively involved as a member and officer in various legal societies.
Ms. Crawford is a member of the Kansas Bar Association. She is also a member of Wealth Counsel, a national association of estate planning attorneys.
Kristina was born in Dodge City, Kansas, and has many relatives in the Jetmore and Johnson communities.
Davis & McCann, P. A. serves clients in the areas of Estate Planning, Trust Administration, Business/Farm Succession Planning, Probate and related matters. The office is located at 107 Layton St., Ste. A, Dodge City, Kansas.
With summer upon us, many families are looking forward to taking their summer vacation. Some people will spend their time relaxing on a beach, visiting a foreign country, or visiting friends and family. For many, taking a summer vacation, leaving children with relatives, or taking one of your child's friends along for the ride, is common practice. Most people don’t give much thought to the idea of who can make decisions on behalf of your child or the child in your care.
So what happens if you go on vacation and leave your child under the care of a relative or family friend? What happens if you are thousands of miles away and someone has to make a parenting decision on behalf of your child? This is where powers of attorney come into play. With a properly drafted power of attorney document, you can delegate your parenting responsibilities and decision-making authority to those who may need it.
There are a few specific elements to think about when considering a power of attorney. First, what type of decision-making authority do you wish to pass on? Second, who is receiving the authority from you? Third, should the decision-making authority only last while you are on vacation and lapse upon your return?
Additionally, if you plan on taking someone else’s child with you on summer vacation, it may be necessary for you to obtain a power of attorney from that child’s parents. For example, if your daughter wants to bring her friend along, you may want to ask the child’s parents for a power of attorney for childcare. If you don’t have such an authorization, it could be more difficult to provide the child with the care they need.
Your summer vacation awaits but before you head off into the sunset, make sure all of your legal documents are lined up. Although chances are good that nothing will happen to you or your loved ones, you don’t want to take the risk that something could go wrong and that the people who need to make urgent decisions can’t.
The days of paper documentation are long gone. Items previously collected and kept in a folder in your desk or filing cabinet are now stored digitally. For example, financial statements, bills, and account updates likely arrive in your email which can make it difficult for your loved ones to manage or distribute your estate after you pass. Without proper forethought, this can lead to confusion for family members, denial of access, and even an inability to locate the accounts or information in the first place.
By putting together a digital asset plan, you’ll help your family tremendously. They'll be able to locate and access the accounts you have online, determine if the digital asset has any financial value that needs to be distributed, successfully distribute the asset to the appropriate party, and avoid online identity theft.
So what should you do?
Make a List of Your Inventory
Put together a list of the digital assets you have. Your inventory may include:
Record Login Information and Passwords
Sharing your logins and passwords is essential to the stability and management of your digital assets. It is extremely important that you record this information for key accounts. Also, if you have computing hardware (computers, tablets, etc) you’ll want to record where those items are located as well.
Specify How You Would Like the Asset Handled
The way you handle different types of assets may vary. While you may want some assets to be archived and saved, you may want others to be deleted or erased, while others should be transferred to family members, friends, or business colleagues. You may have assets with monetary value that should be transferred to people who will continue to manage the accounts, and if this is the case, you may want to think about where that money is going and who will be able to access it after you’re gone.
Store Information in a Secure But Accessible Place
Regardless of where you decide to store your plan, make sure the people who need to know where the plan is actually know. Generally, it’s a good idea to tell one or two people you trust (such as your spouse, your adult children, or a close family member) where it's located and how to access it. This way, when time comes, the people who need to access it can.
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