It can be tough to find a will or trust lawyer in St. Charles Mo. whom you feel like you can trust. Before Estate Planning was commonplace, a will was usually the only legally binding document people prepared for his/her dependents. A will, in short, is a document that outlines how individual wishes to have their estate handled and distributed after their passing. It is not as simple as writing on a piece of paper, however.
Every will or trust lawyer in St. Charles Mo. will tell you that a will that wishes to become validated and legally binding must go through a process called probate. Probate is a very costly and time-consuming process, usually costing up to 8% of a person’s assets, and lasting 12-18 months before completion. There’s a way to bypass this procedure. Trusts are documents that present other legal options, in which people can protect and distribute their assets. Ask your will or trust lawyer in St. Charles Mo. for the options available to you.
The Intestate Administration Process in Missouri
Without a will, a person’s estate is distributed by the state to the surviving members of the individual’s family. In Missouri, a person who passess without a will, is subject to a process called intestate administration. Their estate will be distributed under specific conditions:
- For a spouse and children
If there is a surviving spouse, they are entitled to up to $20,000 in value, and half the rest. The other half would be split amongst the remaining children
- For a spouse and the individual’s children from a previous marriage.
In this case the spout is not awarded the $20,000 in value, and instead receives half of the assets. The remaining child or children will split equally, the other half.
If any of the remaining children are minors, meaning under the age of 18. A probate court will establish something called a conservatorship, which oversees the managing of the individuals assets and estate for the children until they reach the age of 18.
The Benefits of a Will and Testament
A drafted last will offer great benefits to you, as it allows you to present your final wishes instead of leaving it up to chance. You not only distribute monetary value, but you can also appoint guardians to your children who are still minors, and much more. Many states even allow you to designate specific property to certain individuals, however the item must be referred to in the will directly in order for it to be viewed as legally binding by the courts.
There are many free options for will creation online, however, many of these lack the criteria needed to be legally binding, and may lead you to create a will that provides nothing but false security.
Types of Trusts
A revocable trust is a trust that can be changed or canceled as they still remain in the grantor’s estate. Most trusts fall into this category. Examples include family trusts and heritage trusts. Family trusts are set up to protect the assets of a family, so that they may pass onto your dependents, while heritage trusts are set up by parents to ensure their children receive their assets without much of them being taken by debt collectors
These trusts have provisions that cannot be changed, altered, or revoked as they are no longer in the grantor’s estate. A grantor has the choice of whether or not to make the trust irrevocable.
To protect assets from the government, an irrevocable trust may be required. An individual can choose an irrevocable trust to guarantee that no one can change their intentions about the disposition of assets in the eyes of the law. An irrevocable trust does have one exception in that it can be changed if the person who created the trust, and everyone that is considered a beneficiaries declare that the trust needs to be changed.
Irrevocable trusts include:
- Special Needs Trusts
- Farm Trusts
- Investment Trust
- Residence Trust
- Charitable Trust
How to protect yourself
Protect yourself today. Contact a will or trust lawyer in St. Charles Mo at Flesner Wentzel and let us help you protect yourself, your assets, and your family. We have already helped many families get the peace of mind they deserve, so don’t hesitate to call!
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