Navigating The Probate Process In Missouri

The death of a loved one brings a number of legal and financial challenges, often including the probate of the decedent's estate.

Probate is the process of settling a loved ones affairs after death—accounting for the full estate, paying debts, identifying beneficiaries and distributing the assets in accordance with the will.

With skillful estate planning, it is often possible to avoid the probate process altogether. However, when probate is necessary, it is important that you handle all of the steps and legal requirements with care.

As an attorney with more than 30 years of experience guiding clients through probate in Chesterfield and throughout surrounding areas, I can provide you with the counsel and representation you need to navigate these complex matters.

Probate Basics

The probate court process is required to determine who owns the assets of a deceased person, regardless of whether a person dies with or without a will, if an asset:

  • Is held just in the deceased person's name without a beneficiary designation.
  • Is not held jointly with right of survivorship with any other person.
  • Is not subject to a beneficiary designation, e.g. life insurance.
  • Is not held in a Living, Revocable, or Irrevocable Trust.

Generally, a probate estate must be kept open for a minimum of 6 months and 10 days and often 12 months after it is officially opened.

It is usually better to go through the probate process with a will than without a will. For example, without a will, a beneficiary under 18 will receive their entire inheritance upon attaining age 18.

Call For Clarity Today

To learn more about the probate process in Missouri, feel free to contact me, probate lawyer Susan E. Hamra, for a free initial consultation. Call my Chesterfield office at 636-898-5881 or 800-243-8084 or email me today.