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Missouri Estate Planning, Wills, And Trusts Lawyers

Estate planning may sound cumbersome, but it is important to address no matter your age or degree of wealth. As someone who cares about the future of your loved ones, your properties, and yourself, you will want to ensure that the outlook in all these matters is secure, even after you no longer manage them. This is the purpose of planning your estate.

Missouri has laws governing estate planning, though many citizens might find such laws complicated and tiresome. But with the practical, no-nonsense legal guidance of Shea Kohl Law, you can create a smart, favorable estate plan within this complex legal system.

Shea Kohl Law has been serving families in both Missouri and Illinois since 1984, helping secure the future for individuals those they love. Call us at (636) 946-9999 to talk about your estate planning needs.

Why Estate Planning Is Vital

A common misconception about estate planning is that it is only for wealthy seniors who want to leave substantial property to their heirs. In truth, anyone who owns something has an estate to protect and pass on. Planning for this estate has several important implications  many people don’t immediately realize. In fact, as many as 60 percent of Americans aren’t planning for their estate with legal considerations in mind.

These are some vital reasons to plan your estate well:

  • Protecting what you own. Your estate plan allows you to specify exactly what will happen to your property and assets, who will receive them, and how they will be transferred. In other words, it is like a legal assertion of your wishes, protecting your hard-earned estate from other parties’ interference.
  • Protecting your family. A good estate plan protects your family as well. This plan lets you make arrangements so that in the event that something adverse happens to you, your estate will be distributed and utilized for the benefit of your loved ones.
  • Specific care for loved ones. An estate plan helps secure your loved ones’ future and it also allows you to state additional considerations where they are crucial. For example, you may specify a particular guardian for your small children, or additional care for a family member who has special needs.
  • Planning for yourself. You are also protecting yourself with a smart estate plan. You can strategize for what may happen if you unfortunately become disabled, such as how your finances are managed and who decides for your health care.
  • Easier, smoother future. Estate planning saves everyone a large amount of time, money, and energy. Since you’ve already laid out your desired arrangements, it greatly helps prevent costly legal complications, family disputes, and stress over your estate.

For these reasons and more, estate planning is recommended for everyone, not just affluent families. Whether you are a parent of children under 18, a retiree in your golden years, a young professional, or a productive, creative businessperson, forming an estate plan can be one of your wisest decisions.

Estate Planning Documents

Various types of documents make up an estate plan. We can design an ideal combination of several. The following are some essential estate planning documents that have proven valuable for many people.

Last Will And Testament

This is only one type of will. It expresses your wishes for when you pass on. If death occurs before you have made your last will, Missouri’s “intestacy law” would divide your property among your closest relatives, starting with your spouse and children. In other words, the court would decide your estate.

Power of Attorney For Health Care Directives

This document expresses your plan for a situation where you are still alive but unable to manage your estate. Example situations are disability and irreversible illness. This document can cover decisions for your own health care and finances.

Trusts

A trust is a legal agreement where you allow a trustee to hold your assets on behalf of your beneficiaries. That trustee can be you. This is useful if, for example, you have assets for your children but want to wait until they are of legal age before transferring those assets to them. There are dozens of types of trusts to suit your preferences, the most common of which are revocable living trusts.

Powers Of Attorney

You can give a “power of attorney” to a person or organization – not necessarily a lawyer – so that they can legally manage your affairs. For instance, you could authorize a trusted friend or spouse to handle your business, health care, or finances in the event you are unable to do so yourself.

Estate Tax Planning

Federal law implements the Unified Transfer Tax, which is composed of Estate Taxes, Gift Taxes, and Generation-Skipping Transfer Taxes. Good legal planning helps minimize these federal taxes that may apply to you now or during the transfer of your estate.

It is wise to consult with a reliable estate attorney to determine which tools are best for you and how you can maximize them.

How Shea Kohl Law Can Help You

It is true that you can create an estate plan by yourself. There are even ready-made templates available online for basic documents such as wills. But no matter how basic the document is, it still takes an excellent grasp of the law to make your plan legally sound, flexible to change, and most ideal for you and your beneficiaries.

This is where we at Shea Kohl Law can assist you. We can apply our 100+ years of combined experience to make your estate planning effective and efficient. Our firm provides smart, straightforward solutions that put you in control through the legal maze. Specifically, we can:

  • Help you decide on the estate planning tools that are most appropriate for you
  • Draft all your documents and make them legal
  • Competently advise you on important legal considerations such as existing laws, rights and responsibilities, and potential law changes in the future
  • Provide you with case-specific suggestions and forecasts
  • Help you complete the legal requirements and processes, step by step

Shea Kohl Law is based in St. Charles, MO. We serve the counties of St. Charles, Lincoln, St. Louis, and Warren, as well as nearby areas in Illinois.

Contact Us Today

We can start by just talking about your general plans and wishes. Your initial consultation with us is completely free. Call Shea Kohl Law today at (636) 946-9999 and put our 100+ years of combined experience to work for you.

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Shea Kohl Law, LC serves clients in Missouri including St. Charles, Troy and Lincoln and throughout Warren and St. Louis counties. We also serve clients in Illinois.