Estate Planning Tips To Simplify Probate In Missouri

probate lawyer St. Peters, MO

Estate planning is an essential process that ensures your assets are distributed according to your wishes after you pass away. In Missouri, the probate process can be complex, but with thoughtful planning and the assistance of our St. Peters, Missouri probate lawyer, it can be significantly simplified. Our firm has twelve years providing dedicated assistance to our clients in Missouri. With a team of award-winning attorneys lauded for our exceptional client service, we are prepared to help you with all of your estate planning needs. Contact Legacy Law Center today to schedule a consultation.

Creating A Comprehensive Will

One of the first steps in simplifying probate is creating a comprehensive will. A will outlines how you want your assets distributed and allows you to appoint a personal representative to manage your estate. Without a will, the state will determine how your assets are distributed, which can lead to lengthy and potentially contentious probate proceedings. By clearly stating your wishes, you can help ensure a smoother process for your heirs.

Establishing A Trust

Another key aspect of estate planning is establishing a trust. Trusts can be particularly effective in Missouri for avoiding probate altogether. When you place assets in a trust, they are no longer considered part of your probate estate, meaning they can be transferred to your beneficiaries without going through the probate court. This can save time and reduce the costs associated with probate. There are several types of trusts available, including revocable living trusts and irrevocable trusts, each with its own advantages. While trusts can simplify the probate process, they may be more difficult to establish, making the assistance of an experienced lawyer all the more important.

Consistently Updating Your Estate Plan

In addition to creating a will and trust, it’s important to keep your beneficiary designations up to date. Assets such as life insurance policies, retirement accounts, and payable-on-death accounts can pass directly to your designated beneficiaries without going through probate. An experienced lawyer can help you regularly review and update these designations to reflect any changes in your family situation, such as marriages, divorces, or the birth of children.

Considering Joint Ownership

We also recommend considering joint ownership arrangements for certain assets. In Missouri, joint tenancy with the right of survivorship allows property to pass directly to the surviving owner without going through probate. This can be an effective way to ensure that your spouse or other joint owner receives the property promptly and without legal complications.

Setting Up A Power Of Attorney

Another tip is to document your wishes regarding healthcare and financial decisions in the event that you become incapacitated. Durable powers of attorney for healthcare and finances allow you to designate someone to make decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so. This can prevent the need for court-appointed guardianship, which can be a lengthy and expensive process.

Contact Our Probate Lawyer Today

While there are many ways to simplify the probate process, the easiest way to simplify probate is to enlist the assistance of a dedicated probate lawyer. We understand that the idea of estate planning can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. By taking proactive steps now, you can simplify the probate process for your loved ones and ensure that your wishes are honored. Contact our team at Legacy Law Center today to schedule a consultation and allow us to begin assisting you with your probate case.