Probate & Estate Planning Lawyers in the St. Louis, MO Area
Each of us needs a Will, a Medical Durable Power of Attorney, and often a Trust, regardless of the size of assets. A Will allows you to direct the disposition of your assets when you are gone, as does a Trust you manage during your lifetime. The value of the Trust is that you provide for unfortunate disability automatically by appointing someone in advance to manage your financial affairs if that occurs. While you can do that with a power of attorney, that document becomes void upon your death. So one instrument, the Living Trust, takes on both jobs.
Probate is the process overseen by the Court to ensure your assets are distributed to those you designate. You have no choice but to use the more expensive and delayed process of probate administration if you do not have a Trust. In that case, the assets in your name alone on your death, that do not name a benficiary, are govered by your Will. Guiding clients through the probate process and the actual adminisration of probate assets, or enforcing your rights in a probate estate are common tasks for your attorney and you should avoid the "do it yourself" pitfalls. I have acted numerous times as Court appointed Trustee, Personal Representative, Administrator, and attorney for executors, trustees and administrators, with surety bonding provided by reputable insurance carriers to protect the assets under my administration.
Estate Planning, preparation of Wills, Powers of Attorney, Living Trusts, Living Wills and related estate planning asset protection, are common issues handled by this office in "peace of mind" planning.