For your convenience, we have listed expanded definitions of some estate planning and end of life legal issues in which I specialize.
Although generalized forms for these legal functions exist on the Internet, each state treats specific language very differently. Cutting corners using do it yourself methods may seem cheap up front, but they may prove to be very costly in the long run. We recommend consulting an attorney prior to signing any legal documents.
Estate Planning – A basic estate plan allows you to choose what you want done ultimately with your assets and savings. This includes your lifetime accumulations in savings accounts, stocks, bonds, financial accounts, real estate, your home, your business, cars, life insurance, personal property, including collections of art, furniture, research papers, family archives or other valuable or sentimental items.
Will – A will gives your family and survivors certainty about your desires after your death and avoids unnecessary conflict between your family and loved ones. Without a will the State of Missouri decides who gets your assets after your death. A will gives you a choice.
Living Trust – A private arrangement that can provide for your own living expenses during your lifetime and which allows you to choose where the remainder goes after your demise. A trust can own most property including your home, other real estate, your business, financial accounts, cars, personal property and other assets. Assets owned by a trust generally are not subject to probate.
Durable Power of Attorney – A document in use during your lifetime that allows you to authorize and name others to help you with your financial matters, administer your property, pay bills, communicate with health care providers, make medical decisions and other matters and which authorization will continue in effect in the event that you become mentally incapacitated. A durable power of attorney can avoid guardianship and conservatorship if one later becomes mentally incapacitated.
Right of Sepulcher – The right to choose and control the burial, cremation, or final disposition of a dead human body. Under Missouri law you may designate someone to carry out your wishes to administer your funeral and to take charge of the disposition of your body after your death. That person need not necessarily be a relative or an heir.
Probate – The process, administered by a court, involving collecting, protecting and liquidating the decedent’s assets, paying the decedent’s bills, taxes, claims, and then distributing remaining property to beneficiaries. There are court costs, attorney fees, personal representative fees, appraisal fees and other expenses. A decedent’s estate may go through probate whether or not there is a will. Most documents and information submitted to the probate court are open to public inquiry. Full probate administration takes most of a year as a minimum.
Real Estate – This involves land and real property, especially your home including purchases and sales, life estates, beneficiary deeds, title problems, boundary disputes, liens, mortgages, covenants, easements and other matters.
Small Business – Creating a business in the proper form, registration, contracts, employee issues, disputes with other owners or partners, provision for taxes, sale of assets and other issues.
Elder Law and Financial Planning – Steps can be taken to provide for your financial and medical needs after retirement and pass on the remainder to family and survivors.
Other Areas of Law – I will answer questions about other areas of law. If I cannot answer your questions I can refer you to someone else who can.
Contact me if you would like to receive a free copy of my Special Report –
How To Keep Your Home Out of Probate:
Five Simple Strategies For Protecting Your Most Valuable Asset.
Law Disclaimer: The preceding information is of a general nature and not meant to constitute legal advice. This general information is applicable to Missouri and may not be valid in other jurisdictions. If one has specific legal questions contact an attorney directly. The use of this website does not create an attorney-client relationship.