Estate Planning Lawyer Des Moines, IA
Each of us has a responsibility for the world we leave behind. When faced with that high of an obligation, it’s hard to think of concrete steps we can take to do our part. The most effective method of helping your loved and your community is with proper estate planning.
What is Estate Planning?
An estate plan is a comprehensive strategy that aligns your assets and your interests to achieve your goals after your death. More precisely, it is a series of documents, such as a last will and testament, a special needs trust, and/or powers of attorney, that work together to help instruct the world as to what your specific objectives are. For example, a married couple may wish to leave their estate primarily to their grandchildren college education and their church. If they died intestate (meaning without a will), all their savings and investments could go to the IRS, their elderly siblings, and to the state. If they had a comprehensive estate plan, this couple would be able to rest easy knowing that the law will make sure that their assets follow their hearts and arrive in a trust for their grandchildren and their beloved church. Without an estate plan, all their assets, from the antique wedding ring to the farm would be entered into probate and a judge who knows nothing about your wishes will decide where your money goes. Do you want the courts and the government deciding where your money should go?
What does an Estate Planning Attorney do?
An Estate Planning Attorney Des Moines, IA works with you and collaborates with other experts to create a set of documents that work in tandem to achieve your goals for after you pass on. That set of documents is known as an estate plan. Each plan is unique to every client—there is no one size fits all. Oftentimes, the phrase, “simple will,” is used by future clients. When our team of experts review your personal effects, documents, assets, and portfolio, we create a plan that fits your needs. For some people their estate plan will be simpler than other people’s estate plan. But remember, a will is just one part of an estate plan. What if you want to leave money to a family member with special needs? Of course, you can’t gift them money directly to them in a will—Medicaid would take it all! Instead, we would investigate different forms of trusts to help that person live their best lives. That is just one of hundreds of examples as to how an estate planning attorney can help you.
How do I get my parents to meet with an Estate Planning Attorney?
We frequently hear from the children of those that need an estate plan but are hesitant to meet with an attorney to discuss their wishes. Their hesitancy is reasonable—who wants to discuss their own death? But that fear and hesitancy can harm your spouse, your children, your grandchildren, and your community. What parent doesn’t want to help their child achieve their goal of earning a college degree; buying their first house; or making the leap into parenthood themselves? We all want those things for our children, friends, and loved ones. The only thing preventing that is an estate plan. Estate plans don’t have to be complicated. In fact, sometimes an estate plan involves more review and assignment beneficiaries to existing insurance policies than actually drafting new documents from whole cloth. That is where the experts of the Law Group of Iowa come can help you and your family. We have all been in your position at some point. We have had to sit without our parents, grandparents, siblings, and sometimes children and explain to them how important they and their dreams mean to us. You can assure them that any discussions we have with them remains a secret—we call that attorney-client privilege. That added layer of security provides for piece of mind to all that meet with our attorneys.
What if my one surviving parent needs an Estate Plan but they have dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease?
This is a common issue that more and more children within the sandwich generation are facing. The sandwich generation defines those that have to look after their own parents while looking out for their own children and grandchildren. Why is that relevant to neurological degeneration? It’s important to make sure that your loved ones with degenerative neurological conditions, such as Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease receive the best care possible. If you are having to care for multiple generations of loved one, how can your parent or grandparent get the care they require? In cases such as this, we develop an estate plan based on the needs of the client, just like any of our estate planning clientele. We focus on the most immediate needs—in this case, it is care. We will work with social workers and the Iowa Department of Health & Human Services to find your loved ones the best care facility available. That isn’t a typical part of an estate plan, but we do it because it’s the right thing to do. It is all of our responsibility to help those that have come before us. That process, sometimes involving Medicaid eligibility and enrollment, in many ways defines the Law Group Of Iowa—we care about people and we care about you. We will be there with every step of the way.
Can an Estate Plan help me avoid probate?
Yes. Probate is the process of a court deciding on the disposition of the assets a loved one leaves behind. Even with a will, probate can be time-consuming, tedious, and expensive. That’s why a “simple will” no longer is enough. Depending on the needs and wishes of a client, an estate plan may include Transfer on Death accounts, revocable trusts, pass through corporations, retirement accounts, life insurance, long-term care insurance, annuities, and other mechanisms. This universe of alternative wealth distribution mechanisms allows your family to avoid the courts altogether. Why let your family be at the mercy of an anonymous judge, when in just a few privileged discussions with an attorney, your family can escape the alternative?