Estate Planning allows an individual or family to arrange the transfer of their assets in anticipation of death or incapacity. The process allows you to specify the family members and other loved ones that you wish to receive your property after your death. It also allows you to minimize the amount of taxes that will need to be paid in order for your property to pass to others after your death.
In our initial conference we go over each option available to you and explain the pros and cons of each in order to help guide you in your decisions. We recognize that the best option for someone else may not be the best option for you. These options may include:
A Will is a legal document stating a person’s wishes regarding the disposal of their property after their death. It is submitted to the court and whomever you appoint as your executor distributes your assets as you have directed in your Will.
A Trust is a document that must be prepared according to specific legal guidelines. A Grantor, the person creating the trust, transfers the title of his or her property to the name of the Trust. A Trustee, appointed by the Grantor, will manage the property until a specified event changes the Trustee. Generally the Grantor is the Trustee until death, therefore you maintain control of the Trust assets. A Living Trust can be easily amended or changed as long as the Grantor is still alive and of sound mind and memory.
Durable Power of Attorney
A Durable Power of Attorney authorizes an agent (whom ever you choose) to transact business on your behalf. This would only become effective upon your incapacitation or incompetence. A Durable Power of Attorney allows the agent to make financial decisions, pay your debts, and continue to meet your daily financial obligations.
Power of Attorney for Healthcare
A Power of Attorney for Healthcare authorizes an agent (whomever you choose) to transact healthcare decisions on your behalf. This authorization becomes effective upon your disability, incapacitation, or incompetence.
Missouri statutes do provide for a method of transferring assets other than through Probate Court, by means of beneficiary deeds for real estate or TOD (Transfer on Death) and POD (Pay on Death) for personal property.