When you are looking for an estate attorney O’Fallon, MO can count on, come to Legacy Law Center for practical and reliable advice. A Missouri estate attorney is a lawyer who understands how to help clients get their affairs in order to prepare for incapacitation (i.e. by mental health issue or accident) and eventual death. The average O’Fallon estate attorney from Legacy Law Center has years of experience in assisting seniors, veterans, and family members plan their legacy through effective estate preparation. If you are ready to get your legal documentation in order, please call Legacy Law Center today.
What an Estate Attorney in O’Fallon, Missouri Can Do For You
Contrary to what you might think, estate planning is not just a last will and testament. Rather, an estate attorney O’Fallon, Missouri offers may draft living trusts, develop a plan to mitigate estate taxes, and work with families to ensure financial and physical assets are safe from creditors or others upon your death.
An estate attorney O’Fallon, Missouri men and women rely on can also draw up powers of attorney or health care directives. This are especially important if you have recently been diagnosed with an illness or disease such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, or dementia. An attorney can also help you to avoid complications involving guardianship or conservatorship should you ever need someone else to take care of your financial affairs.
How to Manage Generational Real Estate?
After a loved one passes away, managing their estate can add stress and emotions to an already trying ordeal. Unfortunately, it is imperative that the necessary legal steps are taken to ensure the decedent’s estate is handled properly, in accordance with their wishes, as well as state and federal laws. This is where an estate attorney in O’Fallon, Missouri can be a big help.
You and your loved one are probably hesitant to handle the business and financial matters of the estate. It can be helpful to seek an experienced estate attorney in your area to help with the legal process. An estate attorney serving O’Fallon, Missouri can help ease some of the burdens and oversee the process of securing and transferring assets to the designated beneficiaries.
Real estate property can be one of the most complex parts of managing an estate because there are many parts that must be evaluated. If there is a will or trust in place, however, then the process can be fairly straightforward as they essentially provide instruction for how the property should be handled.
- Will: If the decedent left a will behind, then there should be an appointed executor who is responsible for locating and managing the property according to the will.
- Trust: If the property was placed in a trust, then there will be a trustee appointed who is responsible for managing that property.
- No Estate Plan: If there is no estate plan in place, the courts will usually appoint someone to manage the property.
Without a Will
If there is no will in place, managing an estate without an experienced estate attorney in O’Fallon, Missouri becomes a more complex process. The courts will become more involved, as they must appoint an executor and help determine how the property and assets of the estate will be managed and distributed. The best way to keep control of the estate is to work with a estate attorney in O’Fallon, Missouri, but if not, the following steps must be taken:
- Someone close to the decedent should request responsibility of executor with the courts.
- After an executor is named, they will need to petition the courts in order to open the estate in probate and receive a testamentary letter.
- When probate has been granted and the testamentary letter has been received, the estate will open.
- The appointed executor will then be able to start locating, managing and distributing assets and property of the estate.
Estate and Inheritance Taxes in Missouri
After a person dies, their estate may be subjected to taxes depending on the value of the estate. Once the estate is distributed the beneficiaries may be subjected to an inheritance tax.
- Any estate valued under $5.49 million is exempt from estate taxes. Estates valued over this amount are subjected to federal estate taxes and potentially state taxes as well.
- When the estate comprises of commercial property, the estate taxes can be quite a bit of money.
- When the real estate is considered a tenant net lease property, the estate tax can be as much as 40% of the estate’s value.
- An heir may be subjected to inheritance taxes depending on the state. Only six states currently impose inheritance taxes.
Understanding the management and division of an estate can be difficult, so it can be helpful to contact an O’Fallon, Missouri estate attorney. With knowledge and experience of the matters at hand, they can help the beneficiaries receive the highest amount possible by only paying the necessary taxes.
What to Know About Estate Planning: A Guide
Here’s a shocking fact: more than half of Americans don’t have a will. Estate planning is somewhat of a taboo topic; with this number in mind, more and more Americans are hiding from and preventing the inevitable. While it may not always be a pleasant topic to think about, planning your estate with a qualified estate attorney in O’Fallon, Missouri will give you peace of mind while ensuring your family is as protected as can be.
However, you may not know exactly where to start when it comes to figuring things out for the future. So, we have created a beginner’s guide to estate planning that will help you get things sorted for down the road.
There are plenty of definitions and legal elements that you will have to know and understand when it comes to creating a will. Our experienced estate attorneys serving O’Fallon, Missouri at Legacy Law Center will help explain this for you, but here are some common examples:
Will: A will is the summary of what you own and it describes where you want these assets to go once you pass. This is a binding legal document that can include your property, finances, and assets such as expensive personal assets like jewelry and cars.
Executor: This is the person who carries out the wishes of your estate with the help of an estate lawyer to guide them. This is typically a trusted family member or friend, and there can only be one.
Trust: A trust differs from the will in that a trust can be used when you are still alive. In simple terms, a living trust allows someone else to manage your affairs in the situation that you have become incapacitated. Your trustee can own all of your assets, determine what to do with them, and act as an extension of you.
A Living Will: Also known as an advanced directive, a living will outlines what you would like in different medical scenarios. For example, a living will puts into writing what you would like when it comes to being put on a ventilator or a feeding tube.
Medical Power of Attorney: This document will name a person who will be responsible for making medical decisions when you cannot yourself. Usually, the medical power of attorney will work with what you outline in your living will.
Financial Power of Attorney: This document will name a person who will be responsible for handling all your finances, either while you are still living but incapacitated, or once you have passed on. You can name specific functions for this, or you can list the responsibilities as being all-encompassing.
Beneficiaries: These are the people who you will name in your will to receive your assets. It is incredibly important to keep these updated as if there are no listed beneficiaries, your assets may go to the state and/or federal government.
Here at Legacy Law Center, an estate attorney for O’Fallon, Missouri is available to help with any and all of your estate planning needs. We understand that this may be a difficult thing to talk about discuss, so we are available to answer any questions and guide you through making the right decisions for you and your family. Please call us today at Legacy Law Center to get started on the estate planning process.
Qualities to Look for in an Estate Attorney
Not all estate attorneys are equally qualified. Due to the complex legal nature of estate planning, it’s important to retain a skilled estate attorney O’Fallon, Missouri trusts. Some factors you may want to keep in mind include:
A general practice firm might not have the required knowledge to assist you. You may want to look for a devoted estate attorney working in O’Fallon, Missouri who knows the ins and outs of the relevant laws.
You should feel comfortable sharing personal details about your life, finances, and other areas that might be of concern. Rest assured, everything you say remains confidential.
An estate attorney O’Fallon, Missouri respects should be up to date with all pertinent laws and upcoming legislation.
Templates Are Not Always the Solution
There are DIY templates available for many documents associated with estate planning; however, it is advisable to avoid using them due to the potential that they could be considered null and void. If you are adamant about doing it yourself, you should consider having an estate attorney review it for accuracy.
Planning your estate is very important, especially if you have significant wealth or assets. It may be in your best interest to choose an attorney who is qualified and dedicated to their clients. By doing so, you can feel peace of mind in knowing your final wishes can be followed.
Including Explanatory Information with Your Will
When you meet with our O’Fallon estate attorney at Legacy Law Center to plan your estate, you may have a number of things you would like to include in your will. Contrary to what most people believe, a will is not a catch-all for all manner of estate planning. For this reason, many choose to take advantage of more than one type of estate planning tool, such as a will in addition to a trust of some kind. Our will lawyer can review your circumstances and help you determine the ideal solution or combination of tools to create an ideal solution. For instance, you may wish to explain to your loved ones, friends, and family members the reasons behind the decisions you’ve made about how you wish to have your assets distributed after your passing. Such instructions are often handled in what is referred to as an explanatory letter. This is separate from a will, but perhaps no less important in some ways.
A will is intended to provide information to your heirs regarding who should be appointed your executor, who should inherit which assets, and if you have one or more minor children, who should be appointed the children’s legal guardian. However, a will can be limiting in some ways. Also, when an explanation does not accompany a will, it may increase the likelihood of someone contesting the will because they believe they were unfairly slighted or that the will contains one or more mistakes.
The Explanatory Letter
As opposed to a will, the explanatory letter provides the opportunity to include additional information that the testator wishes their heirs and others to understand. When you work with our O’Fallon estate attorney, you may wish to include any or all of the following in the explanatory letter:
- An explanation for why you have chosen to give one or more particular assets to a certain beneficiary as opposed to another individual.
- An explanation for why you have given a larger bequest to one person and not others.
- An expression of negative or positive feelings about a certain beneficiary or person you chose to not include in your will.
- An explanation of how you wish your pet(s) to be cared for and by whom.
- An explanation of how certain assets should be divided (or liquidated and then divided) amongst your beneficiaries.
- An explanation of how you wish your digital legacy to be handled.
- An exposition about your personal beliefs, values, or experiences as you wish your beneficiaries and others to understand them.
Using Clear Language
It’s important to rely on the experience of a trusted legal professional such as our estate attorney in O’Fallon, Missouri to make certain that the explanatory letter does not contradict the will. The two must be a reflection of one another or else it opens the will up to being contested in a court of law. For example, if you express in the letter that you are leaving a child out of your will for a particular reason but the will leaves them property, the entire will can be questioned.
Legacy Law Firm
If you are ready to get started planning and developing a solid estate plan that can hold up in a court of law and save your family stress, we can help. For a complimentary consultation with an estate attorney O’Fallon, Missouri has to offer, please call Legacy Law Center now.