Probate Lawyer Creve Coeur, MO
Probate Litigation Lawyer
A probate lawyer Creve Coeur, MO trusts will tell you probate is a legal process that involves an executor who has many duties, including contacting creditors, paying off debts, and distributing assets according to the deceased person’s wishes. The court oversees this process, regardless of whether or not a will exists. When there is no will, a judge will name the executor, and distribute the assets according to the laws of succession in Missouri.
As a probate litigation lawyer, we have seen an increase in probate litigation cases. This is likely due to the fact, for example, that there are more families who have been divorced and remarried, have many children, or possess a significant amount of assets. When a dispute occurs, for any reason, it is essential to retain a litigation lawyer – especially if your are closely tied to an estate. The sooner you do so, the better.
Once a will has been discovered and filed at the probate court nearest to the last residence of the deceased, various steps must be taken, including:
-Notifying heirs of the death
-Notifying creditors of the death
-Gathering all assets and safekeeping them
-Valuing and selling any assets to pay off debt
-Distributing the assets
There are a lot of duties involved, and creditors and heirs will have rights and limitations that must be considered. The probate process is a public record; thus, can be viewed by anyone. If you or someone else is unsatisfied with the provisions and results, a will challenge might ensue.
If this should occur a Creve Coeur, MO probate lawyer will file a petition to challenge the will. A lawyer might encourage communication, open dialogue, and mediation, to prevent the case from going to court. This may be done to reduce costs and time. When negotiations are unsuccessful, a lawyer will prepare for litigation. This is a very contested area of the law and often involves heated arguments, a lot of emotion, and ample amounts of time and money.
Most Common Reasons to File a Dispute
There are many different reasons for a will challenge, or dispute, to occur. Most involve at least one of the following:
-Lack of mental capacity
-Improper signing of a will
-Multiple wills exist
-Intentional interference with an expectancy
-There are missing or stolen assets
-Probate litigation might also include:
-The wording, or construction of a will
-The determination of a wills validity
-Whether there was a breach of fiduciary duty
-The removal of an executor
-Whether there were fraudulent accounting acts
There are strict time limits to contest a will. Some states have short statutes, even as little as 20 days. If this statute has passed, you may lose your right to contest the will. There are exceptions, and probate litigation lawyer can explain this to you in further detail. For instance, if you are a child of a parent who died, but did not have contact with that parent, and were not notified of their death for many years, but believe you should have been included in the will, it may be possible to proceed with a litigation case. Before you do anything, calling a Creve Coeur, MO probate lawyer may be in your best interest.
If you were named the executor of a deceased loved one’s estate, you may feel a little overwhelmed at this time. Being the executor of a will is a huge undertaking and comes with many duties. If you’ve never acted as an executor in the past, it can be easy to make a mistake. Here are some of the most common mistakes a probate lawyer in Creve Coeur, MO sees executors make.
Distributing Assets Too Soon
One of your biggest responsibilities as an executor is distributing assets to the rightful heirs. Some heirs may pressure you to distribute these items as quickly as possible. However, you shouldn’t distribute assets until you’ve paid off all the descendant’s debts. A probate lawyer in Creve Coeur, MO has seen executors distribute assets too soon and not have enough money left in the estate to pay off creditors. If this happens, you could be held liable.
Not Recognizing Non-Probate Assets
Non-probate assets are able to bypass the probate process and can be given to the beneficiaries right after the descendant’s death. Common types of non-probate assets include jointly held property and trust assets. If you don’t acknowledge these assets in the beginning, you could delay the entire probate process.
Waiting Too Long to Start the Probate Process
When you’ve just lost a loved one, it can be difficult to move forward. While you should definitely give yourself time to grieve, a probate lawyer in Creve Coeur, MO advises against waiting too long to begin the probate process. Creditors expect to be paid what they’re owed and heirs want to receive their assets. The longer you wait, the pushier they all will become.
Failing to Communicate Openly With Heirs
Your heirs want to stay informed during the process and deserve to know how you’re handling the estate. It’s important to communicate with your heirs constantly throughout the probate process. Even if you experience setbacks, you should let your heirs know right away.
Calculating Estate Taxes Incorrectly
All estates are subject to estate taxes. If you don’t calculate these estate taxes correctly, you could cost the estate extra money. If you’re unsure about how to calculate these taxes, you should consult with a probate lawyer in Creve Coeur, MO.
Failing to Hire a Probate Lawyer
Probate can be a complicated and stressful process, especially after you’ve just lost a loved one. If you try to do everything on your own, you could get overwhelmed and make costly errors. That’s why it’s in your best interest to hire an experienced probate lawyer in Creve Coeur, MO. He or she can help you get through the probate process in a timely and stress-free manner. Your lawyer will be there to answer all of your questions and protect your best interests. Contact Legacy Law Center today.