The Importance Of Drafting A Will

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

Most people with assets need wills and an estate plan, but not everyone has one.

What Happens Without A Will?

When people die without a will 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.

Will Basics

Ideally, drafting wills and trust documents is something to be taken seriously and with full knowledge of all options. Consider the following information about wills as you think about your estate planning goals.

  • Wills do NOT avoid probate.
  • Wills affect any asset in a person's name that 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.
  • Wills can designate 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. A guardian is in charge of the children's physical well-being if the parents are deceased, 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 means attorney's fees and court costs.
  • 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.

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 help you ideally preserve your and your loved ones' interests. By drafting a will that stands up to scrutiny, 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 in a free initial consultation with me, Chesterfield wills and trusts lawyer Susan E. Hamra, call 636-898-5881 or 800-243-8084 or email Hamra Law Firm, LLC.