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Do I Need an Estate Plan or a Will?
February 2, 2023 at 4:00 PM
Man looking at a will document

It's hard to think about planning for the inevitable. And yet having a plan in place for what comes next after our demise is critical. Usually, this means working with a professional to draft a will or estate plan.

But how do you know which one to choose?

Many people assume they both do the same thing—distribute your property after death. But there are a few fundamental differences between both terms.

In this post, we’ll explore the difference between an estate plan and a will, as well as how Kansas intestacy laws can go into effect if you pass away without either.

What Is an Estate Plan?

An estate plan is an umbrella term for the long-term planning of your assets, property, and wishes for when you're alive or after you've passed away. This comprehensive plan will consider how to handle your debts, taxes, medical decisions, and care in addition to any assets and property. It is not a single do-it-all document but rather a package of documents, some of which need to be updated as life evolves.

Estate plans include powers of attorney, trusts, and wills that specify how property and assets should be distributed. They provide for medical decisions if you cannot make them yourself due to incapacitation or illness.

Essentially, an estate plan is designed to protect your assets from taxes, creditors, and lawsuits while ensuring that your wishes are fulfilled after you have passed away. Your estate plan may also include instructions for the care of minor children if something happens to you or your spouse.

What Is a Will?

An estate plan is a comprehensive package of documents, and a will is a legal document that falls under it, providing instructions for how you want your property and assets to be divided among heirs after you've passed away. The contents of a will can vary significantly based on individual circumstances.

Types of instructions usually included in a will can include details about life insurance proceeds, real estate holdings, investments, guardianship designations for minor children or disabled adults, personal belongings, charitable donations or endowments — just about anything! Aside from specifying how your possessions should be divided, a will may also allow you to appoint guardians for minor children and name the executor of your estate.

Why Are Estate Plans and Wills Important?

You need an estate plan and a will to ensure your wishes are fulfilled, and your loved ones are provided for after you're gone. An estate plan should provide more flexibility than just a will. Still, if you don't have either in place, Kansas intestacy laws will go into effect, meaning your estate will be distributed according to state-mandated guidelines.

That could mean that family or friends may not receive the inheritance they expected, and it can also lead to costly probate and court fees due to a lack of clear instructions.

With an estate plan and a will, your loved ones receive the inheritance they deserve. It's essential to consider both an estate plan and a will. Both are important for ensuring your wishes are honored after you're gone and that your loved ones receive what you intended for them.

Start your estate planning with OWLFI

Creating a will or developing an estate plan may sound intimidating, but it becomes much simpler and more straightforward with our help. At OWLFI, we are committed to helping you create a plan that will honor your wishes and give you peace of mind. We make it easy for Kansas residents to get started with estate planning, investment management, retirement structuring, and more.

Call us today at 913-441-8380 or email to get started. Let us help you secure your legacy and protect your loved ones!