There are many legal strategies involved in estate planning, including wills, revocable living trusts, irrevocable trusts, durable powers of attorney, and health care documents. New clients often say that they do not have an estate plan. But most people are surprised to learn that they actually do have a plan.
In the absence of legal estate planning services, an estate will be distributed after death according to Missouri's laws of intestacy. Of course, this may not be the plan they would have chosen. A properly drafted estate plan will replace the terms of the state's estate plan with your own.
Banton Business & Legacy Law can help you make tough decisions about your family's future. Call 636-259-3350 today to retain a local estate planning attorney serving clients in Ballwin and Ellisville, MO.
Your last will and testament is just one part of a comprehensive estate plan. If a person dies without a will, they are said to have died intestate. State laws will then determine how and to whom the person's assets will be distributed. Some things you should know about wills:
A will has no legal authority until after death. So, a will does not help manage a person's affairs when they are incapacitated, whether by illness or injury.
A will does not help an estate avoid probate. A will is a legal document submitted to the probate court, so it is basically an "admission ticket" to probate.
A will is a good place to nominate the guardians of your minor children if they are orphaned. All parents of minor children should document their choice of guardians. If you leave this to chance, you could be setting up a family battle that will leave your children with the wrong guardians.
Banton Business & Legacy Law serves clients in Ballwin, Manchester, Wildwood, and Ellisville, Missouri.
Schedule a consultation with an estate planning attorney to review the details of your last will and testament in Ellisville, Missouri.
Trusts come in many flavors. They can be simple or complex, and serve a variety of legal, personal, investment, or tax planning purposes. At the most basic level, a trust is a legal entity with at least three parties involved: the trust-maker, the trustee, and the trust beneficiary. Often, all three parties are represented by one person or a married couple. In the case of a revocable living trust, a person may create a trust (the trust-maker) and name themselves the current trustees (trust managers) who manage the trust assets for their own benefit (trust beneficiary).
Depending on the situation, there may be many advantages to establishing a trust, including avoiding probate court. In most cases, assets owned in a revocable living trust will pass to the trust beneficiaries immediately upon the death of the trust-maker(s). Certain trusts also may result in tax advantages both for the trust-maker and the beneficiary. Trusts may be used to protect property from creditors, or simply to provide for someone else to manage and invest property for the trust-maker(s) and the named beneficiaries. If well-drafted, another advantage of trusts is their continuing effectiveness even if the trust-maker dies or becomes incapacitated.
A power of attorney is a legal document giving another person (the attorney-in-fact) the legal right (powers) to do certain things for you. What those powers depend on the terms of the document. A power of attorney may be very broad or very limited. All powers of attorney terminate upon the death of the maker and may terminate when the maker (principal) becomes incapacitated (unable to make or communicate decisions). When the intent is to designate a backup decision-maker in the event of incapacity, then a durable power of attorney should be used. Durable powers of attorney should be frequently updated, because banks and other financial institutions may hesitate to honor a power of attorney that is more than a year old.
An advance directive is a document that specifies the type of medical and personal care you would want if you lose the ability to make and communicate your own decisions. Anyone over the age of 18 may execute an advance directive. This document is legally binding in Missouri. Your advance directive can specify who will make and communicate decisions for you, and it can set out the circumstances under which you would not like your life to be prolonged.
A document that goes hand-in-hand with your advance directive is an authorization to your medical providers to allow specified individuals to access your medical information. Without this authorization, your doctor may refuse to communicate with your hand-picked decision-maker.
If you are in the areas of Wildwood, Manchester, or Ballwin, Missouri, consider all of these important decisions with estate planning services from Banton Business & Legacy Law in Ellisville, MO.