We all want to leave our mark on this world. The legacy you establish is as
unique as you. Whether you choose to contribute to a church, charity or cause that
is close to your heart, or you leave your assets to loved ones, estate planning
allows you to put your wishes in writing so that they are followed.
Estate planning offers tremendous peace of mind for citizens of any age. Nobody
can tell the future and even though you may not need them for a number of years,
estate planning documents ensure your financial affairs, your health care
instructions and the distribution of your assets will be taken care of according to
your wishes. Many people hesitate to start estate planning early in life, feeling
that it is too early, daunting, or expensive. We emphasize that it is never too early
to start planning, especially when minor children are involved. Failing to plan
will likely be far more expensive during emergency situations or at death, when
your family is left to pick up the pieces.
It's normal to feel apprehensive about estate planning – especially if you've never
done it before. Although thinking about weighty issues brings us facetoface with
mortality, the vast majority of our clients leave our office feeling like a weight has
been lifted from their shoulders. They feel good about their decisions and
confident about the future
At Hook McKinley, LLC, we will work with you to create an estate plan that
addresses your assets, family relationships, and future goals. This very personal
process allows you to pass your assets to your children, your favorite charity, or
other beneficiaries as seamlessly as possible. Your estate planning should make
sense to you and accomplish your goals. Estate planning encompasses much
more than just a last will and testament it is a process, and there is no one
sizefitsall solution. Depending on your circumstances, you may need to
consider multiple documents to ensure your wishes are carried out should you
become ill, disabled, or pass away. We simplify the process by explaining the
options to you and offering advice about what may best suit your needs. This
enables you to make informed decisions about how to achieve your goals.
We ask our clients several questions to illustrate the importance of estate
planning, wherever they are in life:
- How do they want their property distributed after their lifetime?
- Who do you want to benefit from your life’s work, and in what proportion(s)?
- Who should manage your estate, especially if there are minor children or
Your situation is unique and requires a comprehensive and professional
evaluation. Diane and Jennifer will work to ensure your concerns are addressed
and your goals are met by getting to know you and your family. Through the use
of several tools, we provide our clients with complete and expert estate plans which preserve your vision wishes while addressing your concerns and providing
peace of mind. It is important to prepare for life’s possibilities and eventualities.
Estate planning gives you the power to make decisions while you are still able to
do so. Hook McKinley uses several estate planning strategies to assure our
clients’ peace of mind. We offer estate planning services such as:
Power of Attorney for Finances
Power of Attorney for Healthcare (including a Living Will)
Last Will and Testament
Revocable Living Trust
Special Needs Trust
Business entity formation and succession planning
It's never too soon or too late to start planning for the future. Hook McKinley,
LLC is committed to caring for the estate planning needs of individuals and
families throughout the Northwest Missouri area.
probate and trust
Without an experienced attorney by your side, the probate and
estate administration process can be a confusing, lengthy, and
expensive tangled web of legal issues. The emotions of losing a loved
one are enough without you also having to be burdened with complex
questions such as:
- How do I track down my loved one’s assets?
- What do I do with the will?
- How do I know/determine who the heirs are?
- Who are the necessary parties to my loved one’s will?
- How do I notify all the necessary parties?
- What if my loved one had debt?
- What do I do with taxes?
- What are my duties as an executor or trustee?
- Am I personally responsible for my loved one’s debts?
- Is probate necessary?
We provide probate and trust administration services in both
Missouri and Kansas, and also guide outofstate executors and trustees
through the process. When you or your family are coping with the loss
of a loved one, these added responsibilities can seem burdensome and
unmanageable. Our caring, professional approach allows us to assist
you and your family every step of the way and provide the ideal level
of service. With years of experience, we know how to open an estate,
inventory and assemble the assets, manage the claims of creditors,
prepare the proper notifications, and handle all other duties of an
executor or personal representative, including resolving family disputes
over division of property. Our goal is to get the assets into the hands of
the rightful heirs and beneficiaries as quickly as possible.
We represent beneficiaries, trustees, or executors with
diligence, talent and zeal to affect the best outcomes for our clients.
The services we offer include challenging a will or trust, interpretation
of wills and trusts, breach of fiduciary duties and removal actions of
executors or trustees, and disputes regarding the distribution of probate
or trust assets. Let us help you navigate through the probate process in
order to minimize the stress and expense of probate administration
while preserving the assets and legacies so those are passed on to future
generations according to your loved one’s wishes. Sometimes just
talking with an attorney will lift a weight off your shoulders and make
this stressful time more manageable.
We will assist you with the transfer, sale, purchase, and development of
residential and commercial real property. We also handle issues such as probate
avoidance and/or real estate succession planning. We work closely with Realtors
and title companies to ensure your real estate is properly titled and that your
interest is protected. Our clients trust us with all of their real estate and title
issues, and we work for a quick and equitable resolution.
Business owners must navigate numerous legal details in the
planning, formation, and operation of a business. We will assist you
with all of your business and corporate needs, from annual meeting
minutes to compliance issues, to a purchase or sale of the business or
its assets. We represent all types of businesses from small to multi-
million dollar corporations, giving each our personal attention. We are
experienced in forming forprofit corporations, notforprofit
corporations, limited liability companies, and partnerships, and can
handle any related legal issues such as contract negotiations, franchise
agreements, business contract formation and litigation, and business
Although we hope that litigation does not become necessary,
sometimes it becomes required. If so, we will represent you diligently,
and either work with you to find the best solution to resolve the issue,
or work with you until a judgment is obtained. We are experienced in
handling issues regarding contract disputes and/or breach of contract
cases, landlord tenant issues, probate and trust administration, and real
estate boundary disputes.
Disputes between landlords and tenants are common. We focus on the
representation of landlords, ranging from preparing a welldrafted lease
agreement to preparing petitions for past rent due, possession, or both rent and
possession. We will also assist in defending claims made by the tenant, such as
habitability or failure to make repairs. If a tenant fails to vacate after we obtain a
judgment, we will assist in evicting them, or if they fail to pay the judgment, we
will assist in collecting the judgment. Sometimes just a firmly worded letter from
an experienced lawyer can make a huge difference. We have a comprehensive
understanding of the laws and regulations governing actions involving landlord
and tenant rights. We will handle your case personally to get the best resolution
Wartime Veterans and their surviving spouses may be entitled
to receive certain benefits to help offset the costs of medical care.
These benefits can be used to pay for care received in a long term care
facility or at home, even if a family member is providing the care and
assistance in your home. For many, receiving the benefit could mean
the difference between staying in their homes, or having to go to a
facility. We assist our clients in obtaining the benefits to which they are
entitled, keeping in mind possible future care needs, and overall estate
planning wishes. Let us help you evaluate your eligibility for VA
benefits and assist in legally positioning your assets in order to
maximize eligibility both now and in the future.
Many Veterans and Surviving Spouses of Veterans are unaware
of potential benefits they may be entitled to receive. Pension benefits
may be available to military service members who served ninety days
total active duty with at least one day of active duty during a designated
period or war, have qualifying income and asset levels, are age 65 and
older, and who require assistance with one or more activities of daily
living, such as dressing, bathing, eating, or using the bathroom.
Depending on the level of need, the 2016 pension benefit can be as
much as $2,120 monthly for a veteran and spouse, and up to $1,149 for
the widow of a veteran.
Eligibility for Veteran’s Benefits can be an important part of
your overall estate plan. The eligibility rules for Veteran’s Benefits are
different from the eligibility rules for other programs that help pay for
long term care expenses, such as Medicaid. It is important to have a
carefully coordinated plan to ensure that planning for the receipt of one
benefit does not jeopardize your eligibility for another benefit. Let us
assist you in striking the right balance of programs to assist with the
particular needs of your family.
Due to better living practices and medical advances, Americans
are living longer, meaning many will need long term care at some point
in their lives. The cost of inhome care or a long term skilled nursing
facility can be upwards of $5,000 per month, depending on the level of
care needed, leaving many people scrambling to figure out how to pay
for their care, while still being able to pass their assets to their children
or other beneficiaries. Meeting with a qualified elder law attorney can
help alleviate some of these concerns and a plan can be implemented to
protect as many of your hardearned assets as possible, while still
planning for any potential long term care needs.
At Hook McKinley, we work closely with our clients and their
families to safeguard their future while navigating the complicated,
confusing, and everchanging Medicaid laws and regulations. You
have worked hard over your lifetime to accumulate your assets, and it
is our job to help you secure your future and protect those assets. Many
Northwest Missourians and Northeast Kansans do not realize the
importance of having a good lawyer on their side. Here are some of the
ways we can use elder law to benefit you:
- Asset protection
- Medicaid Planning
- Protect assets from a nursing home
- Qualify for Missouri and Kansas Medicaid benefits
- Provide referrals for nursing home or assisted living placement
- Review a proposed nursing home contract
- Plan for Veterans Benefits planning
- Plan for disability
Through Medicaid planning, estate planning, and a combination
of several methods, we can show you how to save thousands of dollars
in long term care costs. The longer you wait to discuss planning, the
fewer options you may have. Even if you or a loved one is already in a
nursing home or assisted living, we may be able to find ways to help
you save your hardearned assets. The cost of nursing home care can
be as much as $5,000 a month or more, meaning that proper planning is
Hook McKinley will help you make informed decisions by
providing you with facts regarding Medicaid and other senior issues,
while dispelling common myths and misinformation. The Medicaid
regulations can be intimidating let us show you how to use Missouri
and Kansas Medicaid benefits to your advantage. There is no reason to
exhaust a lifetime of savings to get nursing home care.
Our knowledge of the Medicaid rules can be used to your
advantage. If you or a loved one has made gifts or transfers of
property, you may not have to wait five years before qualifying for
Medicaid benefits, and you likely will not have to give up your home.
There are many options available under Missouri and Kansas law, even
if you or your loved one is already in a nursing home or assisted living
facility. We provide caring and personal service to help you understand
and use the law for your benefit. Your interests are our first concern,
and we will guide you with patience and compassion, as we protect you
and your family as if it were our own.
We offer a wide variety of services that all have one thing in
common: we represent seniors. Whether helping individuals plan
for retirement and longterm care, or children caring for their
aged parent, we offer services that address longterm care needs,
including nursing home care, and planning for incapacity. We can
assist you with:
- Revocable living trusts
- Durable powers of attorney for financial and healthcare decisions
- Advanced directives (A.K.A. "Living Wills")
- Retirement and LongTerm Care Planning
- Planning for Medicaid Eligibility
- Accessing veterans benefits for nursing home care
- Legal guardianship of a loved one who lacks capacity to make
decisions for their own care
- Conservatorships to manage the financial affairs of a loved one who
lacks capacity to make their own financial decisions
Revocable Living Trust
Trusts are often used to accomplish goals that cannot be achieved through a will
alone. For example, a trust might:
Eliminate the need for probate
Reduce estate taxes
Preserve assets for minors or other beneficiaries until they reach a certain age
Provide for educational, health, or other needs of beneficiaries
Contribute to charitable or religious organizations
Many people think that if you create a trust, you give up control of your assets.
While this is true for some types of trusts, we usually recommend that our clients
remain in full control and ownership of their assets until their death. A revocable
living trust allows you to change the terms of the trust throughout your life as
family situations and other considerations change. In other words, you remain in
There are many types of trusts – revocable living trusts, irrevocable trusts,
charitable trusts, special needs trusts, educational trusts, and even pet trusts, to
name a few. We can match you with the type of trust that best fits your needs and
customize it accordingly.
Power of Attorney for Finances
Powers of attorney are perhaps the most versatile among the many estate planning
tools available. They are also among the most misunderstood. These documents
can be very flexible you can craft a power of attorney to accomplish almost any
The basic purpose of a power of attorney is simple: it grants another person the
legal authority to act on your behalf. This document is a key piece in even the
most basic estate plan. Without a power of attorney, if you become incapacitated
(for example, due to an accident or mental condition like Alzheimer's), your loved
ones will not have the ability to make decisions on your behalf, including the
ability to pay your bills, obtain insurance information, or manage your real estate
or investments. If you do not have a power of attorney, it will be necessary for
your family to go to court to be able to make those decisions.
When you sign a financial power of attorney, it does not mean that you are giving
up control of your decisions it simply means that you are giving someone else
(or multiple people) the ability to make your decisions or help ensure your assets
are being properly managed. As long as you are able to make your own
decisions, you are still in complete control. Powers of attorney for finances can
be effective immediately upon signing, or they can be effective only upon
incapacitation (called "springing" powers). It is possible for you to sign a power
of attorney now, but the powers given to your agent would lie dormant until you
When choosing your agent under a power of attorney, it is important to remember
that you do not have to name only one person. You can name two or more people
and also decide whether or not they must agree and act jointly, or whether they
can act independently of each other on their own. You can also name successor
or back up agents in the event your first named agent is not able to act on your
behalf. You can name as many successor agents as you want, and you can also
name multiple successor agents, same as with your first named agent.
Power of attorney documents can vary widely. We can help you tailor a power of
attorney to meet your specific needs and address your concerns. We can also help
you use and interpret existing powers of attorney so you know your rights and/or
the rights of your loved ones.
Power of Attorney for Healthcare
A Power of Attorney for Healthcare is essential for every person over the age of
18 years old. Once you legally become an adult, your family loses the authority to
make medical decisions for you, leaving them with few options if you are unable
to communicate with medical professionals and make your own medical
decisions. A healthcare power of attorney allows your agent to talk with your
doctors, obtain your medical records, request a second opinion, and ultimately
make your medical decisions for you.
Powers of Attorney for Healthcare are not effective until the principal (you...the
person giving the authority) is incapacitated. Therefore, it is typical to sign a
Power of Attorney for Healthcare and give copies to family members to use in
case of an emergency. Many times our clients choose to give a copy to their
healthcare provider so it is in their file in the event it is needed.
Just like with financial powers of attorney, you can name one person as your
agent to make your medical decisions, or you can name multiple people, as well
as backup agents. There is no requirement that you name a family member to
make your medical decisions. In fact, you should name the person or persons
who will follow your medical wishes and act in your best interest.
A Living Will is different from a healthcare power of attorney. While the power
of attorney names who will make your medical decisions, the living will sets forth
your wishes regarding end of life decisions. A living will only applies if you (the
principal) is persistently unconscious or there is no reasonable expectation of
recovery from a seriously incapacitating or terminal illness or condition. The
Living Will only applies at end of life it does not apply in emergency situations,
nor does it apply when there is an expectation of recovery.
It is the goal of medical professionals to prolong life as long as possible, without
regard to your condition or expectation of recovery. While some people prefer to
be kept alive through the use of machines and other medical technology, some
people would rather pass away more naturally, and allow nature to take its course.
Either way, this is your decision not the decision of a medical professional. It is
important that your living will reflect your wishes and decisions so that your
family knows what you want should that situation become a reality.
Last Will and Testament
Many people believe the only estate planning document they need is a will, and
with a will, their estate planning is complete. What they do not realize is that
after they die, their will must go through probate, an expensive and time
consuming process for the loved ones they’ve left behind. A will should be
included in any estate plan, however it is only one piece of the larger puzzle.
A will should outline how you want your property distributed to your loved ones,
charities, or religious organizations upon your passing. The will should clearly
state who (or what entity) is to receive your property and in what proportions.
The more clearly you write your will and outline your wishes regarding your
property, the better off your beneficiaries will be when distributing your property.
A last will and testament is a versatile document, much like a trust. A will can be
used to establish a trust at your death (called a testamentary trust) to hold assets
until a beneficiary or beneficiaries reach a certain age. A will also allows you to
choose who you would want to be guardian and conservator of minor children or
family members with special needs. Like trusts, wills should be tailored to meet
your specific goals.
When deciding what documents you use as part of your estate plan, it is important
to keep in mind that since a will must go through probate, this means that the
court will oversee the administration of your estate. This means that there will be
filing fees and attorney’s fees no only initially, but also during the administration
of the will. This is especially important to consider if your beneficiaries are
Always remember, when deciding how your assets should be distributed among
your beneficiaries, what is fair is not always equal. Many people desire to
distribute their estate equally between their beneficiaries, however some people
wish to compensate one beneficiary for services or assistance received prior to
death, or to equalize previous assistance given to one beneficiary that another did
not receive. However you desire your property to be distributed after your death,
just remember that it is your decision you worked for your assets, and you have
the right to pass them on as you see fit.