Probate Lawyer Creve Coeur, MO
If you have made it to this page, you may be considering calling a Creve Coeur, MO probate lawyer for assistance with a legal matter. Perhaps you have lost someone and would like help with the management and distribution of their left assets. Or, you may be concerned about the future of your heirs and are ready to draft a legally binding estate plan. If you can relate to these situations, or another similar one, it may be time to talk with a probate lawyer in Creve Coeur, MO.
The Probate Process
Probate is a legal process that requires the court to validate the will of a deceased person. It will also involve the management, administration, and distribution of the will according to its terms. When a will is first drafted, the decedent of the will must have designated an administrator. This person is known as the executor, and their duties will include:
- Notify creditors of the debt
- Inventory the decedent’s assets
- Evaluate the assets and sell them if needed
- Pay off any debts and owed taxes
- Distribute the assets to the named beneficiaries
When only a will exists, the estate must pass through the probate process. In general, the probate process is overseen by the circuit court. Depending on the value of the estate and whether or not there are any complications, the probate process could take between 3 months and 2 years, or more. If the probate process is anything, but straightforward, it can be very useful to have a Creve Coeur, MO probate lawyer to assist you.
Avoiding the Probate Process
Probate can be complicated and stressful. Furthermore, it can be costly. Because of this, many people choose to avoid the probate process. In general, this is only done when you plan ahead. If you talk with a probate lawyer in Creve Coeur, MO, he or she might recommend to do one of the following:
- Draft a living trust
- Name beneficiaries in a bank account, investments, retirement plans, or other financial accounts
- Have joint ownership of a property
If one of these estate planning tools has already been selected, probate may be avoidable. To ensure all obligations are met, it is advisable to consult a probate lawyer in Creve Coeur, MO.
When There is No Will or Estate Plan
If your loved one died without a will or estate plan, the entire estate will very likely have to go through the probate process. You may have to notify the court about the death and explain there is no will. A judge will name an administrator who will need to go through the standard steps of the process. The primary difference between an estate with a will and without one is that all assets will be distributed according to what the court says. This means they are not distributed based upon the deceased’s wishes.
At Legacy Law Center, we have the necessary experience and knowledge to guide you through the probate process, as well as, any estate planning you are considering. To explore your options, please call a probate lawyer in Creve Coeur, MO today.