A Boutique Law Firm Serving Northern Kentucky and Ohio
Northern Kentucky Estate Planning Lawyers
What happens in the event we die or become incapacitated? It isn’t something any of us really want to think about it, but it is a reality, and it’s important to have the documents in place to make our wishes legally binding. Estate planning offers a variety of ways to protect our wishes and the best interests of those we may leave behind.
A person’s last will and testament is the most basic part of estate planning. This is where someone can designate who should get their assets, and in what quantity, after death.
When a person dies without a will, then all the assets go into the intestacy process. Assets will still go to close family members, but they will follow a rigid formula that may not be at all reflective of what the deceased would have wanted. In the state of Kentucky, for example, a surviving spouse inherits half of everything, with the remaining half going to children, parents, and siblings.
Furthermore, the intestacy process takes time, and the distribution of assets to beneficiaries can be delayed. A last will and testament allows both the person writing the will to exercise precise control over how their property will be passed on, and can help speed up the process for beneficiaries to collect.
A will, by itself, will not allow the beneficiaries to avoid going through probate court. The way to avoid probate is to set up a living trust. Trusts can serve a variety of interests, even beyond the benefit of staying out of probate court.
A living trust can allow someone’s inheritance to be distributed incrementally, or at threshold moments in their life. Trusts can protect assets from creditors and from legal action. Smith Law’s founding partner, Attorney Shannon C. Smith, has earned the designation of Certified Estate & Trust Specialist, an honor accorded to just 1% of estate planning lawyers. We can help.
Parents of minor children have to think about how they want to take care of their kids in the event something should happen. If this is not spelled out in a guardianship plan, then the state will make the decision based on family relationships.
The results can be something the parents would not have wanted. Moreover, there is at least the possibility that children could be temporarily placed in foster care while guardianship issues are worked out. Our Northern Kentucky estate planning attorneys can help avoid this outcome by working with parents to make sure their wishes are expressly known and legally binding.
Contact the award-winning lawyers at Smith Law today, either by phone at (859) 710-9001 or by filling out our online contact form.
What happens to someone if they lose the mental capacity to make decisions? Their healthcare still has to be managed, as do their financial affairs. To do either of these on someone else’s behalf requires legal authority. That authority is called power of attorney.
It’s important for people to choose someone they have confidence in. Even in families that are close, there are often differing ideas over how important decisions on end-of-life medical care should be handled. People need to know the person acting on their behalf shares their values and convictions. They also need to know that someone reliable will be handling their finances. The responsibilities of medical and financial power of attorney can go to the same person, or they can go to different people. What’s most important is that they go to people that the person granting the authority has confidence in.
We offer estate planning packages that include everything from your will, living will, powers of attorney, trusts, and for those of you with minor children, a kids' protection plan.
At Smith Law, you’ll get personalized service, from hands-on Northern Kentucky estate planning lawyers. Our doors are open to all, and we offer payment plans for those who need help.
Call Smith Law today at (859) 710-9001 or contact us online to set up a consultation.