Festus, MO: 636-931-3682
Serving the Jefferson County area
For our clients estate planning covers a broad range of “tools” used to address client needs not only for asset and property distribution at death but also for life care and end of life considerations.It is important for us to know as much about our client’s circumstances and desires as we can gather so that we can give a client assurance that all of their concerns and needs are addressed. For this purpose we provide clients with an estate planning worksheet used to gather that information that works not only to provide us data but to cause clients to think broadly about their life situation and think ahead to address concerns down the road that they may have not thought about or do not think about in the estate planning context.
Generally speaking our information gathering focuses on two broad areas.
First, we want to know as much about the family structure as we can. Are there parents, kids or grandchildren? Are they healthy or need special consideration? Are they responsible, in good marriages, have financial issues or are they otherwise suitable to handle administration duties or absorb and deal with wealth transfers that occur at the death of a beneficial gift maker? Many people do not understand that if they do not create a plan the State has a distribution plan already prescribed for them in the Missouri statutes of descent and distribution. In many cases clients are unpleasantly surprised to learn that what the statutes may prescribe for distribution of their property is not what they want or intend.
Secondly we inquire about what is the nature and extent of the client’s Estate. In order to address planning for gifting and transfers we explore not only how much the client has in property value, but what is the makeup of their estate value and how is it titled? From experience we find that many clients have not considered those things that transfer at their death such as insurance, tax deferred annuities and retirement interests. Are there other assets that might become part of their estate after a plan is in place? Are assets held in co ownership with other parties? Are person’s names on accounts as co owners in such a manner as to exclude other intended beneficiaries at the death of the primary owner? All of these things are important in the creation of a comprehensive plan for the clients benefit.
Most clients erroneously believe that a will avoids probate. This is not so. Wills are in fact the direction for how the probate court will require administration of the estate. Most clients want to avoid probate. Although probate is sometimes the better alternative for property distribution from one’s estate it can usually be avoided by the use of certain non probate transfer devices or by the creation of a trust. Trust planning comprises the bulk of our estate planning efforts. They typical client wants to avoid probate, deal with lifetime disability care, provide for their surviving spouse or minor or disabled children and secure long range transfer of their estate. Often addressing concerns for family members after the client is gone is of paramount concern. Trusts allow this to be done in the most efficient and private way.
These options vary greatly between clients and require an in depth analytical analysis of the clients wants and needs. We work hard to make our clients desires be the outcome of successful planning.
Lifetime Caretaking concerns through the use of Powers of Attorney for Personal Health and financial care and end of life concerns.
Experience tells us that most people experience a time period in their lives when their needs must be addressed by efforts of someone acting for them. This period can be short or very long. It can occur quite unexpectedly. Without properly planning the decision making process for care can be the subject of court jurisdiction and is controlled by the probate court and not by persons the client would desire. We believe that a complete estate plan needs to address these caretaking concerns with documents that select the appropriate caregivers without Probate court intervention and the attendant cost delay and impersonal nature of the process.
For this purpose we create Powers of Attorney and Health Care Declarations.
A power of attorney is a document where you privately select and empower an agent to act on your behalf with such authority, limited or unlimited, to make and implement decisions on your behalf and deal with third persons as your representative without court intervention. These documents can be created as “durable” documents, meaning that your authorization will not be affected by your incapacity or disability.
Your agent appointment can be made effective immediately or only upon a determination that you are disabled. Because these documents can grant authority for caretaking immediately there is avoidance of the cost and delay of court involvement.
No plan is complete without consideration of this potential for need.
Probate and Trust Administration and Litigation Support
Whether during a period of disability or at death, the caretaking needs or estate concerns of a client often must be handled through the Probate Court system. Even trust administration is controlled by the Missouri Uniform Trust Code. These processes involve pleadings, filings and accountings to fulfill your duties under the law. We are knowledgeable about these requirements and can instruct you as to your duties and assist you in this undertaking. We have handled thousands of Estates. Sometimes, in spite of the best of intentions or plans, issues arise during the caretaking or administrative process which cause lawsuits or claims to be filed which become the subject of the trial process in the probate or civil courts.
We have over forty years of trial attorney experience and representation of clients in litigation matters throughout the state at all levels of the court system. Our firm also has mediation experience both as litigators and as mediators. Our lawyers can bring to bear our skills and expertise to create an environment for the most favorable outcome of litigation claims through the combination of our understanding of this area of the law and our abilities as trial lawyers.
While litigation is often not the best alternative nor our primary recommendation for conflict resolution, we will not back away from a fight should the need arise and we stand ready to uphold your position under the law.
When you turn to Breeze Law Firm, L.C. to represent you in your legal matters, you're getting more than just an attorney. You're getting decades of experience and dedication to protecting individuals and businesses alike. No other firm in the Jefferson County area puts themselves behind you the way we do. Contact us today.
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