Estate Planning & Probate Administration
A will or other estate document is more than just a piece of paper. It is a powerful legal vehicle that can enable you to provide for your family long after you are gone.
Our team of attorneys is committed to helping individuals and families establish estate plans that reflect our clients’ deepest values and wishes for their family. We provide a full range of estate planning and probate administration services, including:
- Durable power of attorney for health care
- Durable power of attorney for financial affairs
- Guardianships and conservatorships
- Probate administration
- Probate litigation, trust litigation and will contests
For experienced advocacy and legal counsel, contact our law firm today to schedule an initial consultation with an experienced St. Louis estate planning lawyer.
Offering Personalized Estate Planning Services in Missouri
When helping you establish your estate documents, we will work closely with you to understand your financial situation, your values, and your hopes for your family. We will tailor our approach based on your goals when working with you to create an estate plan.
As your family and financial situations change, we can update your estate documents to reflect your new circumstances. After a marriage, the arrival of a child or a divorce, we can revise your documents to ensure they correspond with your current estate planning goals.
Missouri Probate Administration Lawyers Offer Cost-Effective Services
Our team of attorneys provides a range of probate administration services focused around our clients’ individual needs. We can handle all probate matters from start to finish on behalf of an executor or provide advice and services on an as-needed basis.
Probate Administration & Litigation
Estate plans are established to define individuals’ wishes for their property after they pass away. Unfortunately, wills and trusts can be highly contested. Dispute often erupts between family members over the amount of an inheritance. A family member may claim a relative used undue influence to persuade a loved one into unfairly dividing the family estate. The legitimacy of an estate plan may also be questioned if family members believe their loved one was not competent enough to make sound decisions when a will was established.
Our team of attorneys has extensive experience handling disputes in probate litigation. Every case is fact specific. Part of our background includes advocating for beneficiaries or executors seeking to preserve the intentions of the estate plan. We also provide experienced legal counsel to relatives questioning the legitimacy of a trust or will. For experience you can trust, contact us today to meet with a highly skilled St. Louis probate litigation lawyer.
Seeking to Preserve the Intentions of an Estate Plan in Probate Litigation
If you believe a trust or will was mishandled or established with undue influence, entrust our law firm to help preserve your loved one’s intentions. We have extensive experience handling highly contested cases in probate litigation. Our law firm is committed to protecting our clients’ best interests while seeking to uphold the intentions of an estate plan. We have the skills and legal resources to handle a wide range of trust and will contests involving allegations of:
- Competency concerns — In order for a will or trust to be valid, the person establishing the estate plan must be considered emotionally and mentally competent. We have extensive experience handling will and trust contests in which family members claim their loved one had Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s disease or another illness threatening their ability to make sound decisions.
- Undue influence — If you were likely going to be a beneficiary of an estate and learned that you had been removed from the will, you may be suspicious that a caregiver or another family member had undue influence over your loved one. We are committed to upholding the intentions of an estate plan, knowing vulnerable adults are susceptible to undue influence.
- Questionable will changes — The goal of a will is to designate who will receive property after the creator of the estate plan passes away. Unfortunately, wills can be mishandled to try to prevent a beneficiary from receiving his or her share of the inheritance. If your loved one’s will was changed just days before he or she died or was written in someone else’s handwriting, we can help you take legal action.
- Breach of fiduciary duty — If you are a fiduciary accused of not following through with the terms of an estate plan, we can help protect your rights and mitigate any potential ramifications. Our law firm also has a strong background advocating for beneficiaries with concerns a fiduciary mishandled their loved one’s investments.
Our team of attorneys can assist you and your family following the death of a family member and can help you through the probate process. Probate allows you to transfer legal ownership of property from a deceased individual to that person’s heirs. We work with the estate’s executor (if one was named in a will) to help you comply with all of the probate court’s requirements. If there is no will or executor named, we assist you in following Missouri’s law so all property is distributed to the heirs.
As part of the probate process, we help you determine if there was a valid will left by the deceased. If there was a valid will left, we then help you through the probate process, including appointing the executor, having the property valued, paying all debts owed to creditors and then distributing the property acceding to the deceased’s wishes. If the total value of the property remaining in the estate is less than $40,000, the estate is eligible to be declared a small estate and can then be dealt with in a less complicated legal process.
Durable Power of Attorney
At any time, you may become incapacitated and unable to communicate or make decisions as they relate to your healthcare or financial matters. A way to prepare for this possibility is for us to prepare and have you execute a durable power of attorney for your healthcare and financial matters.
The durable power of attorney for health care allows you to appoint someone who will be able to make decisions related to your care and medical treatment if you become incapacitated or unable to make these decisions on your own. You have the power to direct the types of treatment you receive and who can make decisions on your behalf regarding your medical care.
The durable power of attorney for financial affairs allows you to appoint another person to act on your behalf as it relates to your financial affairs if you become unable to maintain your finances at some point during your life. This person can act on your behalf to make sure that all of your financial affairs are in order as well as write checks, open or close bank accounts and make any decisions on your behalf as it relates to your financial affairs.
A will is an essential and basic estate-planning document that can help provide for your family following your death and makes the process of closing your estate easier for your loved ones. You should make sure your assets are titled properly to avoid probate court, otherwise, your last will and testament dictates how you want your assets and possessions distributed following your death. A will does not allow a person’s estate to avoid the probate process, but does determine how assets are distributed and divided upon death. Dying without a will or other estate planning documents means Missouri Law determines how assets are divided and you will have no say in how your assets are distributed upon your death.
Our team of attorneys can assist you in your estate planning and drafting a will or other document so that your assets are protected upon your death and are distributed in a manner consistent with your desires. Our years of experience allow us to assist you in drafting your will to meet your desires and wishes. We take the time to sit down with you and evaluate your financial situation to draft a will and other estate planning documents to meet your needs.
The trust provides you with control over your assets while you are living and tax savings and the ability to avoid probate following your death. A revocable trust gives you the power to control your assets while you are living, but also controls the way your assets are distributed to your heirs upon your death. A revocable trust allows you to withdraw or add assets while you are living and also change those who benefit from the trust.
A trust is very similar to a will in that it directs how your assets will be divided and distributed upon your death. An added benefit of the trust is that heirs who benefit from the trust are able to avoid the probate process. A trust gives you flexibility as well in how your assets are distributed upon your death. You name a trustee that will administer the trust and distribute your assets according to your wishes. The trust gives you the power to control your assets following your death and control how those assets are distributed following your death. You can provide for your children’s or grandchildren’s education or control at what age assets are distributed.