Estate planning seminar Saturday at library

“Why a Will Is Not Enough” seminar on legally protecting your family and assets and avoiding probate court is planned from noon to 1:30 p.m. Saturday at the Fairfield Public Library.

The seminar will be presented by local attorney David Sykes.

One of life’s many responsibilities is to plan for your estate to pass on to your loved ones when the time inevitably comes. Most people think that preparing a validly executed will ensures that an estate will smoothly pass to heirs. However, having a will alone is not enough. If not accompanied with a properly executed trust, your estate, by law, must proceed through probate court, said Sykes.

Without a properly executed trust, Iowa law currently requires one’s entire estate to pass through probate court which typically takes six to 12 months to complete. Probate also requires an attorney to represent the estate. It is a public and costly process that requires a judge’s approval.

With effective planning, a will coupled with a properly executed trust is able to completely bypass probate court. The moment an individual passes away, the estate, without additional cost and without the need for an attorney, transfers assets freely to designated beneficiaries under the auspices of your chosen successor trustee, said Sykes.

Sykes has seen many instances of families going through the prolonged probate process while grieving the loss of a loved one. He is concerned that many people are unaware of the need for both a will and trust.

“Unfortunately, in my experience, many people wait to prepare even a will before it’s too late,” he said.

Sykes will discuss the various components estate planning, which typically includes a will, revocable trust (which becomes irrevocable upon one’s passing), living will, and medical power of attorney. Also included will be facts to support informed decisions that protect your estate and loved ones.

Sykes has been practicing law in Iowa since 2008 and was a former member of the Maryland State Bar Association. Local community service includes the role of co-founder, president and legal counsel for the Noah’s Ark Animal shelter. He is a founding director, past president and legal counsel for the Jefferson County Farmers and Neighbors Inc. More recently, he has served as legal counsel and director for the newly formed Fairfield Pickleball Club Inc.

For information, call 472-6551.