Do You Need a Probate Lawyer St. Peters, Missouri Offers?
Whether you are preparing to go through the probate process or are trying to manage a family dispute involving a will or estate, it may be a good idea to hire a probate lawyer. At Legacy Law Center, we help people find solutions to a broad range of legal matters. Our experience, dedication, and knowledge about the law are what have enabled our firm to build a solid reputation within our community. Regardless of how complex your probate matter may be, we can offer you the guidance necessary to make it go as quickly and smoothly as possible. To schedule a free consultation with a Missouri estate planning lawyer, call today.
When You Might Want to Have a Probate Lawyer on Your Side
Every state’s probate process is different. Unfortunately, it is rarely simple and the complexity of the process will be dependent upon the assets involved, the validity of the will, whether or not there are any disputes, and so forth. Although you are not legally required to hire a probate lawyer, having one can be tremendously beneficial. This is especially true when valuable assets are involved or there are disputes about the will. If no will was left by the deceased, the probate process can be even more complicated.
Small Estate Procedures
Not every estate is required to go through the probate process. It may be a good idea to find out if your state offers small estate procedures which means you might only need to perform a sworn statement. Going to probate court might also be unnecessary. Call Legacy Law Center to find out more about this special rule from a trusted Missouri estate planning lawyer from our legal team.
When Family Disputes Are Involved
A will is meant to distribute assets with ease, but family disputes do occur. If a family member, relative, or friend is threatening a claim over the estate you should consider contacting a Missouri estate planning lawyer sooner rather than later. We have the experience necessary to handle even the most complex disputes. Call us at Legacy Law Center to find out how we can help you.
Estates with Large Financial Assets, Real Estate, and Special Assets
If the estate includes property in multiple countries or states, commercial property, businesses, over $1 million in assets, artwork, and other special assets, consulting a Missouri estate planning lawyer might be in your best interest. This is also true when an estate owes taxes, has copious amounts of debt, or other unpaid expenses.
Every State’s Probate Process is Different
Many states have adopted the Uniform Probate Code which means there will likely be minimal court supervision. If your state has not adopted this, the probate process might be time-consuming and costly. A Missouri estate planning lawyer from our firm can explain how your state’s laws might affect the probate process.
Legacy Law Center: A Trusted Probate Lawyer St. Peters, Missouri Trusts
When our fellow community members of St. Peters, Missouri need a Missouri estate planning lawyer, they often turn to Legacy Law Center. Call us today to request a free consultation with a probate lawyer.
When a person dies, their estate must go through the probate process before assets can be dispersed to heirs. Every state had its own laws regarding how the probate process should work. The following is a brief overview of how the probate process works, however, a probate lawyer can provide you with the details of what the rules are in your state. Residents in the St. Peters, Missouri area should contact Legacy Law Center today for assistance.
The first step to the probate process is filing a petition with the probate court which has jurisdiction (the area where the decedent lived) in order to place the will into probate. Every will should have a party named who the decedent wanted appointed as executor. The executor is the person who will oversee the settling of the estate. A probate lawyer can assist the executor in every step of the probate process. If the person did not have a will, then the petition will request that the court appoint someone as executor.
A notice of the hearing is sent to all of the beneficiaries and published in the legal notices of a newspaper which is located in the area where the court is located.
After an executor has been legally appointed by a probate judge, they need to notify all of the decedent’s creditors. The creditor can then file a claim against the estate for any debt owed to them. They must file their claim by the date that is on the notification they are sent. Once the deadline has passed, the creditor loses their right to pursue their claim.
The executor is also responsible for making an inventory of all the assets and property that the decedent owned. It is not uncommon for the executor to obtain appraisals to determine the actual worth of some of these assets. It is important to realize that it is not only financial accounts, real estate, stocks, and bonds in the inventory, but the executor must also determine the worth of any business interests, vehicles, boats, furniture, household goods, jewelry, collections, and more.
All of the debts that are related to the death and probate process must be paid before any of the assets can be distributed to heirs. Some of these expenses, which are identified in your state’s probate laws, include:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Federal, state, and municipal tax obligations or other government debt
- Debt owed to any employees the decedent had
- Any approved claims
During the probate process, the court will consider any claims made against the estate, such as someone who is contesting the last will and testament of the decedent. Once all of these claims have been settled and all the debts and expenses have been paid, the executor will then file a petition with the probate court to receive permission to distribute the remaining assets in the estate to the beneficiaries who were named in the will or designated by the court in any final decisions made if the will was contested. Once the court approves the petition, the executor will transfer the assets and property to the beneficiaries.
If you would like to find out how a probate lawyer St. Peters, Missouri clients recommend can help your situation, contact Legacy Law Center today.
How Can I Avoid Probate?
It can be uncomfortable thinking about estate planning, but if you don’t it could cost your loved ones time and money as your estate goes into probate. Probate is a process that involves distributing property as outlined in a decedent’s will. The probate process, which is court-supervised, can often be lengthy, at times costly, process. It is understandable that most people would rather their assets be passed on to their family and loved ones rather than having a large amount of money spent on the probate process. Aside from getting advice with a probate lawyer St. Peters, MO, here are a few ways that you can avoid having your property go into probate.
You can avoid probate by doing the following:
- Create a Revocable Living Trust
One of the most common and straightforward ways that people avoid probate is by creating a living trust. It is very similar to creating a will, but it allows the person that you appoint as your trustee the ability to transfer your property and possessions to your beneficiaries without undergoing probate. The process is often smoother, less costly, and much quicker than probate. That is because it is the trustee, not you, who is the technical owner of your assets. When you create a living trust, you specify who your inheritors will be and your assets will then be distributed more quickly and efficiently.
- Joint Tenancy With a Right of Survivorship
Joint tenancy with the right of survivorship is another way to avoid probate. If another person’s name is on the title of, for example, a home, and one of the owners dies, then the property would go to the other joint-owner. No need for probate in this case. Not married? No problem. You can jointly hold a property with anyone, you simply have to make sure that you designate the ownership clearly.
- Name a Beneficiary on Your Accounts
What some people don’t realize is that even though you may have written a will, it does not mean all of your assets will have to pass through probate. In fact, some assets allow you to name beneficiaries. You can name a beneficiary (or beneficiaries) on your bank accounts, investments, and retirement plans. These are known as POD or Payable On Death accounts. Some states will even let you designate beneficiaries for your real estate through a transfer on death deed or affidavit.
Life insurance policies, 401K plans, stocks, bonds, IRA accounts, and pension plans are all payable on death. And it’s not difficult to name beneficiaries on these accounts–you simply fill out some paperwork as provided by your bank or brokerage company. That simple step could spare time and expense.
- Get Rid of All of Your Property
One extreme way to avoid having your estate go through probate is by simply not having an estate at all. In other words: Get rid of all of your property. Of all of these options, this is clearly the most extreme and is not exactly the most logical of options seeing as you’ll need somewhere and something to live off of until your death.
- Make Gifts
When you give your property away while you are alive, you can avoid probate simply by no longer owning it. Seems simple enough, right? If it isn’t in your name, it’s not subject to probate. This could help your loved ones avoid high probate costs because the lower the monetary value of the assets that go through probate, the lower the expense.
Probate Lawyer St. Peters, MO
As you can see, there are a limited number of ways that you can avoid probate. One thing is for sure: If you are looking to start estate planning, things will be much less confusing with someone helping you every step of the way. At Legacy Law Center, attorneys are ready to help you through the journey. If you need a probate lawyer St. Peters, MO then call Legacy Law Center now.