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Why Do I Need to Plan My Estate in Advance in Missouri?

Why Do I Need to Plan My Estate in Advance in Missouri?Advanced estate planning in Missouri aims to protect and distribute your life’s hard-earned assets according to your preferences. By drafting a proper will, trust, or other estate planning document, you can:

  • ensure that the wealth you worked for reaches the people or organizations that matter most to you
  • appoint a trusted guardian, conservator, or trustee to look after your minor children
  • provide for the effective management of funds and properties you pass on to those you care for.

What is Estate Planning?

In the broadest sense, your “estate” represents all your assets. The “estate plan” refers to the systematic approach for allocating your possessions in the event of your death or incapacitation.

Evaluating your possessions is fundamental in creating the estate plan. This appraisal crucially helps the estate plan lawyer create the most beneficial asset distribution strategy upon your demise.

Additionally, a thorough estate plan may cover provisions for assigning others to help you in cases of incapacity or disability. This can prevent the necessity of Probate Court intervention or action.

Reasons You Need an Estate Plan

If you own property or a business, have young or adult children, have gone through divorce, or expect to inherit wealth, then an estate plan would benefit you. This involves creating a living trust, will, and powers of attorney as well as making living wills.

The following are the top reasons you should consider having an estate plan:

Evade Probate During Your Life and After

Take control of your assets instead of allowing court-supervised control. Probate proceedings often turn out to be public, costly, and drawn-out, thus should be sidestepped if possible. You can ensure a private and efficient inheritance process for your heirs by devising a comprehensive estate plan.

For example, if you create a trust, the trustee will promptly distribute your possessions to the beneficiaries, with no need for probate.

Protect Your Assets on Medicaid

Consider the financial implications of Medicaid if there is a need for you to stay in a nursing home. To be eligible for Medicaid nursing home coverage, you must maintain a low income. With astute planning, it’s possible to preserve your family’s wealth while still qualifying for Medicaid benefits.

Ensure the Inheritance of Children from a Previous Marriage

Planning for a second marriage can be intricate and difficult. It’s important to seek proficient legal advice to sustain your assets and ensure the allotted inheritance for your children from your first marriage is properly delivered.

Safeguard Your Assets from Legal Issues, Separations, and Other Entitlement Assertions

An estate plan lets you ensure that your assets are bequeathed to your preferred recipients. It prevents these assets from falling into the hands of those you deem inappropriate like former partners, extended family, debt collectors, or tax authorities.

Provide for Grandchildren and Children with Special Needs

A higher income can disqualify your special-needs loved one from governmental benefits. You can arrange your assets in a way that avoids this potential loss of benefits.

Preemptively Discourage Disputes

A well-crafted estate plan clarifies your preferences, leaving no room for disagreements among your loved ones or beneficiaries. In addition, if you have an estate planning attorney ensuring the validity of your documents, there would be minimal opportunity for objections. This is important especially when you’re not present to make your own case.

Consider Each of Your Children’s Unique Needs

Each child is unique, and a tailor-made estate plan can ensure that each child’s individual needs are taken into consideration according to your wishes.

The Consequences of Neglecting Estate Planning

If a person passes away intestate (without a will) in Missouri, the distribution and administration of their estate are managed under the Missouri laws of Intestate Succession.

These laws are designed to allocate assets to the closest relatives of the departed. The main priority is reserved for the surviving spouse and offspring, including their heirs. In the absence of these individuals, the estate would be transferred to the parents and siblings, and their respective heirs. Then, grandparents, aunts and uncles, or their descendants would be considered.

Stating your last wishes in a straightforward will means it will likely go through probate. This process, overseen by the court, is often lengthy. While the estate is under probate, no inheritances can be allocated, and your family may find themselves waiting for a long time, with probate costs adding up.

The interpretation of Missouri law could potentially lead to unexpected outcomes. For instance, your assets could be distributed to individuals you may not have wanted to include.

The good news is that a Last Will isn’t the only estate planning tool available. You can take advantage of other mechanisms such as trusts and powers of attorney. An ideal estate plan can be a strategic combination of these tools, creating a multifaceted arrangement that thoroughly covers your wishes for the future.

To prevent undesired outcomes, it’s recommended to seek advice from an attorney specializing in estate planning and create a comprehensive estate plan.

Contact Shea Kohl Law’s Experienced Estates and Trusts Attorneys

Seeking expert assistance for estate and trust planning? At Shea Kohl Law, our skilled attorneys stand ready to help. Find out how you can benefit from our deep expertise in Missouri estate planning. We ensure all your questions are answered, and we can design a will or trust that aligns perfectly with your needs.

To discuss more, we encourage you to contact us at (636) 946-9999 and arrange a meeting at our St. Charles estate planning office.

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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.