Experienced Des Moines Estate Planning Attorneys

Navigating the complexities of estate planning in Des Moines, Iowa, is crucial for safeguarding your legacy and ensuring your loved ones are well cared for in your absence. Estate planning is more than just drafting documents; it’s about making informed decisions that reflect your wishes and protect your family’s future.Estate planning is e ssential for anyone looking to organize their assets, debts, and final wishes systematically. It provides peace of mind, knowing that your estate will be handled according to your desires, reducing the burden on your family during a challenging time. Without clear instructions, your loved ones may face unnecessary complications and disputes.

Reaching out to an estate planning lawyer in Des Moines, Iowa, is the best way to ensure your family knows how to handle your estate after your death. An estate is an important legacy for those you leave behind, and while it may seem like the end of the road for you, it’s just the beginning for those who will be sorting through your assets, debts, and other belongings.

will and trust papers

Expertise of Des Moines Estate Planning Lawyers

Specialized in drafting wills, trusts, and navigating Iowa’s estate laws, estate planning attorneys in Des Moines offer comprehensive services to tailor a plan that suits your unique needs. From establishing living trusts to advising on power of attorney, these legal experts ensure your assets are protected and efficiently passed on to your beneficiaries.

Understanding Iowa Estate Planning Laws

Estate planning in Iowa encompasses various components, including wills, trusts, and understanding state-specific tax implications. For instance, Iowa’s estate tax exemptions and the importance of legal documentation like wills and trusts highlight the need for professional guidance. Tailored estate planning considers these elements, ensuring your plan aligns with Iowa laws and minimizes tax burdens on your heirs.

Initiating Your Estate Plan

Beginning your estate planning journey involves selecting a knowledgeable attorney in Des Moines. Look for firms with a strong reputation, like the Law Group of Iowa, offering no-cost consultations to understand your goals and provide personalized advice. Their expertise in elder and business law further enhances the planning process, addressing all facets of your estate.

Estate Planning Essentials

The foundation of effective estate planning lies in several key documents and decisions:

  • Wills: Specify asset distribution and guardians for minors.
  • Trusts: Offer flexible options for managing your assets, with variations like revocable and irrevocable trusts.
  • Powers of Attorney: Designate someone to make decisions on your behalf if incapacitated.
  • Advanced Directives: Outline your wishes for end-of-life care and medical interventions.

Regularly reviewing and updating these documents ensures they remain aligned with your current situation and wishes.

Choosing Between Wills and Trusts

Deciding whether a will or trust better suits your needs depends on various factors, including your assets, beneficiaries, and personal preferences. Both serve to direct the distribution of your assets but differ in their operation and complexity. An experienced estate planning lawyer can guide you through the advantages of each, helping you make an informed decision.

Specific Laws Related To Iowa Estate Planning

Estate planning is the process of planning for the distribution of your assets after your death. It is important to have an estate plan in place to ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes and to minimize the estate taxes that your loved ones may have to pay. There are a number of specific laws related to estate planning in Iowa. It is important to be aware of these laws when creating or updating your estate plan.

Iowa Wills

A will is a legal document that states how you want your assets to be distributed after your death. In Iowa, anyone who is at least 18 years old and of sound mind can create a will. A will must be in writing and signed by the testator (the person making the will) and two witnesses. The witnesses must be at least 18 years old and of sound mind.

Iowa Trusts

A trust is a legal arrangement in which you transfer ownership of your assets to a trustee. The trustee then manages the assets and distributes them according to the terms of the trust agreement. There are many different types of trusts, but some of the most common types in Iowa include:

  • Revocable trusts: Revocable trusts can be changed or amended at any time before the grantor’s death.
  • Irrevocable trusts: Irrevocable trusts cannot be changed or amended once they are created.
  • Testamentary trusts: Testamentary trusts are created in a will and go into effect after the grantor’s death.
  • Living trusts: Living trusts are created during the grantor’s lifetime and can be used to manage assets and provide for the grantor during their lifetime and after their death.

Iowa Estate Taxes

Iowa has an estate tax, but there is a large exemption. In 2023, the Iowa estate tax exemption is $1.2 million. This means that estates valued at up to $1.2 million are not subject to Iowa estate tax. If the value of your estate exceeds the Iowa estate tax exemption, your heirs will have to pay estate tax on the amount over the exemption. The Iowa estate tax rate is 10%.

Des Moines Estate Planning Statistics

According to a 2021 Gallup poll, less than half of all Americans have had a will created. Ideally, you’ll begin thinking about the disposal of your estate long before you become sick or reach old age. When you start early, you’re more able to plan not only your estate but to think deeply about the kind of legacy you want to leave. You simply don’t want to leave these important decisions to chance, and you risk that if you don’t get help in putting together an estate plan.

FAQs Regarding Estate Planning

What is an Estate Plan?

An estate plan is simply a collection of legal documents that details your wishes for how to care for your estate. It can also include your medical care wishes and expectations, should you become unable to make such decisions for yourself. An estate plan can include a will, trust, power of attorney, health care directive, and/or letter of intent. 

What you choose to include will depend on your intentions for your estate plan and the specifics of your circumstances. The Law Group of Iowa can help you through the process of planning and drafting these documents.

Do I Really Need a Will?

Yes, plain and simple. Many people have a misconception about who needs to create a will. The truth is everyone should have one, not just wealthy, elderly people with contentious familial relationships. Traditionally considered assets like real estate and bank accounts are not the only things that can hold value. During times of grief, family squabbles can occur over anything. That can include high-value property, but it can also include your grandmother’s pasta pot or a recorded VHS tape of your 1995 summer vacation. To avoid the stress of indecision and fighting amongst surviving family members, reach out to an estate planning lawyer in Des Moines, IA, to discuss obtaining a will.

When Should I Create an Estate Plan?

Sooner is better than later. You likely already know that life is unpredictable, and being as prepared as possible for future inevitabilities is a good idea. Creating a will now give you and your loved one’s peace of mind. Illness and injury can occur at any age. Don’t wait until it’s too late. When you decide to take action on this important process, work with a knowledgeable estate planning lawyer in Des Moines, IA.

I Have an Estate Plan, Do I Need to Update It?

Probably. There is no set amount of time that you must update your estate plan, however, the general consensus is that a review should occur every three to five years. You should also consider making amendments anytime a major life event occurs. This can be a marriage, divorce, birth, adoption, move to a new state, or death of a beneficiary. You want to ensure your will or estate plan includes the most recent version of your wishes. The Law Group of Iowa can help you make adjustments to your current estate plan. 

An Inheritance Without a Will?

A will or trust leaves important instructions behind for your family and friends, and if you don’t work with an estate planning lawyer in Des Moines, IA, to draft up these valuable instructions ahead of time, your family and friends will suffer for it. Arguing over inheritance has the potential to rip families apart and destroy relationships, and it can be extra stress on top of an already stressful situation: People are grieving, so chances are they aren’t totally thinking straight.

Additionally, if you’ve left behind a will but failed to leave proper instructions on who should be responsible for managing your estate, a probate court can choose an executor instead. This court-appointed representative is usually a spouse or other family member, but if your family has been fighting (or you had a demanding – and possibly vindictive – ex-wife or ex-husband), this can become a point of contention.

In these instances, probate (the process of managing and distributing your estate) can drag out for months, and even years. All the more reason to make sure you have the right estate planning lawyer helping you out before your death.

What exactly is an estate plan?

Simply put, an estate plan is a collection of legal documents that spell out exactly how you want your assets and liabilities to be handled after you die. In fact, trust can go further than that and include the details of how you want to be cared for when you fall seriously ill. These documents usually comprise a will, appoints an administrator for your estate, spell out advanced directives about your health care, grant powers of attorney, etc. The exact documents will depend entirely on your situation.

What you do want is to work with an experienced estate planning lawyer in Des Moines, IA. You want an attorney who not only knows estate law but has solid experience putting estate plans together for Iowa residents. Such a firm is the Law Group of Iowa.

They know the law and we’ve worked with many kinds of clients from those who have few assets to those who have assets not just in Iowa but all over the country and even the world.

Contact Our Des Moines Estate Planning Lawyers

For those seeking estate planning assistance in Des Moines, the Law Group of Iowa stands ready to provide expert legal counsel. Their commitment to creating tailored, people-first estate plans ensures your legacy is preserved and your family’s future is secure. When you want to reach out to an estate planning lawyer in Des Moines, IA, you want to talk with the Law Group of Iowa. Working with a qualified estate planner is one of the best legacies you can leave your family. You’re actually giving them peace of mind because they will know the details of how you wanted your estate handled. Because you’ve worked hard you want to be sure your wishes are known and followed when you pass. Chances are this will be in the form of a will or a living trust. These legal documents will mean your family and friends know what you wanted.

Law Group of Iowa, Des Moines Estate Planning Lawyer

5601 Hickman Rd #3b, Des Moines, IA 50310