Estate Planning, Wills & Trusts
Overview: We provide estate planning and probate administration services tailored to each client, ranging from simple wills involving small estates to preparation of inter vivos revocable trusts and testamentary trusts to minimize federal and state estate taxes in large estates by taking advantage of the marital deduction and unified credit. The services we provide include preparation of the following estate planning documents:
- Wills both simple wills and complex wills that create testamentary trusts upon death to minimize estate taxes.
- Living Wills to authorize termination of life support in certain situations.
- Health Care Powers of Attorney so that an appropriate person can be designated to make critical health care decisions when a client becomes incapacitated.
- Powers of Attorney so that a trustworthy person can make financial decisions on behalf of a client who becomes incapacitated.
- Trusts including revocable inter vivos trusts to avoid probate, spendthrift trusts, QTIP trusts, Crummy Trusts, and irrevocable life insurance trusts.
Spousal Rights: We provide advice to clients concerning the rights of a spouse under Kansas law, including the right to an elective-share of a deceased spouse’s estate and homestead rights. We have been involved in substantial litigation concerning whether a spouse’s waiver of elective share and homestead rights was freely and voluntarily given. See, e.g., In re Estate of Kachelman, Case No. 01 P 64, District Court, Stafford County, Kansas (2004).
Premarital and Post-Marital Agreements: We provide advice on the need to obtain and the requirements that should be met to enforce premarital agreements (sometimes referred to as a prenuptial or antenuptial agreements), as well as post-nuptial agreements.
Trust Litigation: We advise clients concerning the rights of a beneficiary and the duties of a trustee under the trust instrument and the Kansas Uniform Trust Code. We have been successful in substantial litigation on behalf of a beneficiary against the trustee for breach of the trustee’s fiduciary duties. Tonya May v. Thelma R. Lewis Revocable Trust, et. al., Case No. 04-CV-1852, District Court, Sedgwick County, Kansas (2004).
Attorneys who practice in this area: Steven D. Gough.