Do Not Put Off Drafting Your Will Or Trust

It is common practice to put off will and trust preparation. The problem is, people give up rights of control over an estate when they do this.

When people die without a will or trust in Missouri, the death is declared intestate, and Missouri's revised statutes of intestacy define the asset distribution process. This can create significant problems for families, particularly when children are involved. An administrator then has to oversee the process, which may not be the ideal situation.

At my law office in Chesterfield, Missouri, I help individuals and families create customized estate plans suited to their needs. I represent clients across St. Charles County and St. Louis County.

Ideally, drafting wills and trust documents is something to be taken seriously and with full knowledge of all options.

  • Wills do NOT avoid probate.
  • Wills affect any asset in a person's name which is not held jointly, in a Trust, or is not designated to go by a transfer of death (TOD), or payable on death (POD) or other beneficiary designation.
  • A trust can designate a trustee to control assets without court intervention
  • Wills can appoint the Personal Representative (Executor/Executrix) who is in charge of gathering assets, paying final bills, and distributing assets according to your wishes, under the purview of the Probate Division (Court). One has a choice in a Will of electing a simplified administration or one supervised by the Court.
  • Wills can designate the Guardian for children under 18. The Guardian is in charge of the children's physical well-being and the children will usually live with him or her.
  • Wills can designate the Trustee for funds one elects not to distribute to a beneficiary immediately on one's death.
  • Wills must be probated which will cause attorney's fees and court costs to be incurred.
  • Missouri Statutes adopted by the Legislature calculate the minimum Probate compensation to the attorney. The Missouri Statutes set the minimum attorney's fee for probating an estate between 2% and 5%. The attorney's fee per statute, for a 8100,000 estate is $3300. The attorney's fee on a $1,000,000 estate is $26,500.
  • Wills must be probated in the County in which the deceased person resided and a Probate proceeding must occur in any County and State in which real estate was owned.
  • Should a person rely on a "legal form"? Legal forms cannot substitute for the advice and counsel of an experienced attorney who has the ability to pose questions and propose solutions pertaining to a particular situation.

How Can I Help You? Schedule A Complimentary Consultation Today.

Regardless of the size of your estate or complexity of estate planning issues, I am ready to take over 25 years of estate planning experience to help you ideally preserve yours and your loved ones' interests. Using both revocable and irrevocable trusts, I can ensure that your desires are explicitly defined.

The combination of direct work with my clients and full understanding of all issues has helped hundreds of families reach success in estate planning. I want to help you do the same.

To discuss Missouri estate planning, including power of attorney, in a free initial consultation with Chesterfield wills and trusts lawyer Susan E. Hamra, call 636-898-5881 or email Hamra Law Firm, LLC.