Estate Planning

If You Have Loved Ones In Your Life,
You Should Also Have An Estate Plan

A common misconception about estate planning is that it is only for the elderly or for extremely wealthy individuals. The truth is if you have people in your life who you love, then you need an estate plan.

At Janssen Law, PLC in Des Moines, we help people from all walks of life develop a comprehensive estate plan that allows them to protect their assets and to pass them on to loved ones in the manner they desire. Attorney Dallas J. Janssen has more than three decades of experience assisting clients with their estate planning needs. Dallas works with high-asset families that require complex strategies, as well as those with more modest assets that merely want the peace of mind that comes with a comprehensive estate plan in place.

What Is An Estate Plan?

At the very least, you should have a will that provides instructions on how your personal assets should be distributed upon your death, as well as power of attorney designees for financial matters and health care in case you become incapacitated and cannot make these decisions yourself.

Our clients rely on us to assist them in establishing a plan to manage their property, their health care and their decision-making authority as their lives change and their priorities evolve. We serve clients throughout Central Iowa by providing dedicated and compassionate representation. We care about our clients' goals and legal needs. Contact us to schedule an appointment regarding your estate planning and probate administration needs.

We help clients understand their options in estate planning, from determining what assets they own to financial planning. We help give our clients gain a clear picture of their situation. We draft estate planning documents, including the following:

  • Wills
  • Financial powers of attorney
  • Irrevocable trusts
  • Revocable trusts
  • Income assignment trusts (Miller Trusts)
  • Health care powers of attorney
  • Living wills
  • Guardianships
  • Conservatorships

Periodic Review of Estate Plan

An estate plan allows you to control what happens to your property if you die or become incapacitated. Periodically reviewing your estate plan will alert you to any changes that need to be addressed.

When should you review your estate plan?

  • Immediately after a major life event
  • Annually
  • Thorough review every five years

There will be times when you'll need to make changes to your plan to ensure it still meets all of your goals. For example, an executor, trustee, or guardian may have died or change his or her mind about serving in that capacity, requiring you to name someone else.

Examples of events that should trigger a periodic review are:

  • Change in marital status;
  • Addition to your family through birth, adoption or marriage (stepchildren);
  • Death or incapacitation of a spouse or family member;
  • Spouse, parents or other family member has become dependent on you;
  • Substantial change in the value of your assets or your plans for their use;
  • Receipt of a sizable inheritance or gift;
  • Change in income level or income requirement;
  • Retirement; and
  • You have plans to change any part of your will or estate plan.

Examples of things to review in your estate plan:

  • Who are your family members and friends? How do you feel about them?
  • Does your will reflect your current goals and wishes? Does your choice of an executor or a guardian for your minor children remain appropriate?
  • In the event that you become incapacitated, do you have a living will, durable power of attorney for health care or "do not resuscitate" order to manage medical decisions?
  • What property do you own and how is it titled?
  • Have you reviewed your beneficiary designations for your retirement plans and life insurance policies?
  • Do you have or need a trust, living or testamentary?
  • Do you plan to make any lifetime gifts to family members or friends?
  • Do you have plans for charitable gifts or bequests?
  • If you own or co-own a business, have provisions been made to transfer your business interest? Is there a buy-sell agreement with adequate funding? Would lifetime gifts be appropriate?
  • Do you own sufficient life insurance to meet your needs at death?

We welcome the opportunity to answer your questions about asset protection and explain what you can achieve with the proper estate plan in place. Call 515-421-9068 or use our online contact form to schedule a consultation.