Estate Planning Is a Gift and a Legacy for Loved Ones

Benjamin LongAdvanced Directive, Estate Planning Attorney, Executor, Guardians, Wills

Importance of End-Of-Life Planning

“Talking about death makes most of us uncomfortable, so we don't plan for it. That's a big mistake, because if you don't have an end-of-life plan, your state's laws decide who gets everything you own.”

Without an end of life plan, a doctor you’ve never even met might decide how you spend your last moments, and your loved ones may live with the burden of not knowing what you would have wished. These are just a few reasons why “End-Of-Life Planning is a ‘Lifetime Gift’ To Your Loved Ones,” as discussed in a recent article from

A Lifetime Gift for Your Loved Ones

It’s important to recognize that planning for the end of your life is actually not all about you. It’s about the ones you love: your parents, spouse or your children. They are the ones who will benefit from the decisions you make to prepare for the end of your life, and life after you are gone. It is a gift to those you love.

Initiating the Estate Planning Process

Reviewing or Creating an Estate Plan

So, what should you do?

Start by preparing to have an estate plan created. If you have an estate plan but haven’t reviewed it in the last three or four years, find it and review it. If you can’t find it, then you definitely need a new one. An estate planning attorney can help you create an estate plan, including a will and other documents.

Choosing an Executor for Your Will

In the will, you name an executor, someone who you trust completely to carry out your directions. Some people choose a spouse or adult child to be their executor. It’s a lot of work, so pick someone who is smart, organized and trustworthy. They’ll be in charge of all of your financial assets and communicating how the estate is distributed to everyone in your will.

Inventory and Asset Distribution

Addressing Sentimental Items

Create an inventory. This includes things that are of financial and sentimental value. People fight over sentimental things, so giving your family specific directions may avoid squabbles.

Guardianship for Minor Children

If you have children under age 18, name a guardian for them. This should be a person who knows your children and will raise them with same values as you would.

Protecting Your Pets with a Pet Trust

Pets are often overlooked in estate planning. If you want to protect your pet, in many states you can create a pet trust. It includes funds that are to be used specifically for care for your pet, and a trustee who will be responsible for ensuring that the funds are used as you intended.

Digital Assets and Accounts

Social Media and Online Property

Digital accounts are also part of your property, including social media, online photos, everything in your online cloud storage, credit card rewards, email, frequent flyer miles and digital assets.

Ensuring Validity and Compliance

Make sure your will is executed and in compliance with the laws of your state. If your will is found to be invalid, then it is as if you never made a will, and all your planning will be undone.

Advance Directives for Health Care

You also need an advance directive, a legal document that covers health care and protects your wishes at the end of life. One part of an advance directive gives a person medical power of attorney, so they can make decisions for you if you cannot.

Medical Power of Attorney and Living Wills

The other part is a living will, where you share how you want to be cared for and what interventions you do or don’t want if you are near death.
Reference: (June 30, 2020) “End-Of-Life Planning is a ‘Lifetime Gift’ To Your Loved Ones”

Benjamin E. Long, as the founding attorney of Schlagel Long, LLC, specializes in Estate Planning and Probate Law in Olathe, KS. His commitment to telling your story and safeguarding your legacy is deeply rooted in understanding that estate planning transcends mere financial wealth. It’s about preserving your intellectual, spiritual, and human assets, cultivated over a lifetime.

Recognizing the discomfort that surrounds discussions of death, Benjamin emphasizes the importance of end-of-life planning. His approach is informed by the notion that such planning is a lifetime gift for loved ones, relieving them of future burdens and uncertainties. This perspective aligns with his advocacy for comprehensive estate planning, including the creation of wills, trusts, and advance directives.

Benjamin's expertise extends to guiding clients through the executor selection process, ensuring a trustworthy individual manages their financial assets and estate distribution. He understands the emotional weight of decisions regarding guardianship for minor children, the care of pets through pet trusts, and the management of digital assets. His legal acumen ensures that each estate plan is valid, compliant, and reflective of his clients' wishes.

A skilled litigator, Benjamin is adept at navigating probate, property, and business matters, representing individuals and businesses in developing and protecting their legacies. His litigation experience encompasses a broad spectrum, from breach of contract disputes to probate and property law issues.

Educationally, Benjamin is a proud alumnus of Kansas State University, where he earned a B.S. in Biology, and Washburn University School of Law, where he received his J.D. with a Certificate in Advocacy. His commitment to legal excellence is exemplified by his induction into the Order of the Barristers and his recognition as a Super Lawyer Rising Star.

Active in professional circles, he is a member of the American Bar Association, Kansas Bar Association, and Johnson County Bar Association. Admitted to the U.S. District Court District of Kansas in 2011, his legal prowess is nationally acknowledged.

Beyond his legal practice, Benjamin contributes to the legal community as an adjunct faculty member at Washburn Law School and as head coach of the Kansas State University Mock Trial Team. His life in Olathe, Kansas, is enriched by the joys of family time with his wife, Dr. Andra Long, and their two daughters.

Benjamin E. Long - Estate Planning Attorney
Kansas Estate Planning Legacy Planner

Estate Planning Legacy Planner

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Please use the button below to receive a free copy of our Estate Planning Legacy Planner, an organization tool essential to any estate plan designed to help your loved ones take care of you and handle your affairs.

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