Providing Effective Representation and Advice to Individuals with Legal Issues Related to Probate in Lincoln County, Missouri
Probate is the process by which the estate of a person who has passed away is administered. It occurs both when there is a will and when there is not a will, and examples of the issues that are resolved during probate include proving the validity of a will, paying taxes, settling debts, determining the value of assets, and transferring assets to heirs and beneficiaries.
The process of probate in Lincoln County can be complicated and confusing, especially if you have never been involved with probate before. Thankfully, if you have an interest in a probate proceeding in any capacity, there is help available. Attorney Kenneth P. Carp is an experienced lawyer that has been practicing law for more than 25 years and is available to provide counsel and representation to beneficiaries, executors, and others who are involved in the probate process.
How to Avoid Probate in Lincoln County?
While it may initially seem counter-intuitive, one of the most important roles of a probate attorney is helping people avoid having their assets go through probate at all. Between court fees, appraiser’s fees, executor fees, and the like, probate can be extremely expensive and cost an estate several thousands of dollars. Additionally, the process of administering an estate can last for months or even years, in some cases. Some of the ways that an attorney can help pass your property to your beneficiaries without having them go through probate include the following:
- Placing assets into a living trust (inter vivos trust)
- Using joint ownership of certain assets
- Beneficiary deeds for real estate
With good planning and regular review, it may be possible to transfer all of your assets without any of them going through probate. There are no “one-size fits all” solutions to probate avoidance, however, so it Is important to speak to an attorney about your situation in detail before taking any steps regarding particular assets you would like to transfer.
Who Can Benefit from the Help of a Missouri Probate Attorney?
Virtually anyone involved in probate can benefit from working with an attorney. In cases in which there are no issues for which you would need legal help (for example, probate is going smoothly and your inheritance is uncontested), your lawyer will tell you that rather than providing services that you do not need. Some of the specific issues with which a lawyer can help include the following:
• Breach of Fiduciary Duty – Trustees and executors have a duty to act in the best interest of beneficiaries, not themselves. If they are using their position for self-enrichment or wasting trust or estate assets, beneficiaries may be able to bring a legal action for breach of fiduciary duty against the,
• Will Contents – In some cases, there may be a reason to contest the validity of a will during probate. Examples of reasons that a will may be contested include an assertion that an individual exerted undue influence on the decedent, evidence of a subsequent will, indications that the decedent lacked the mental capacity to create the will, or evidence of fraud.
• Help with Executor Duties – While it can be an honor to be named the executor of your loved one’s estate, it can also impose certain responsibilities that you may not feel comfortable handling without the assistance of a professional. In these cases, a lawyer can help answer any questions that you may have or handle the entire matter for you if that is how you would like to proceed.
Call a Lincoln County Probate Lawyer Today to Discuss Your Case
If you have assets that you would like to transfer outside of probate or are currently involved in the probate process, you should speak to an attorney as soon as possible. To set up a free case evaluation with Lincoln County probate attorney Kenneth P. Carp, call our office today at 636-947-3600 or send us an email through our online contact form.