Assisting Individuals throughout Missouri with Matters Related to Probate and Estate Planning and Administration
When a person passes away with or without a will in Missouri, their estate goes through a process known as probate. The process is overseen by a probate court and involves addressing matters related to the validity of any will that may have existed, applying state intestacy law, paying taxes, settling debts, litigating disputes, and transferring assets to beneficiaries.
Probate can be complicated and confusing, particularly if you have never been involved with it before. If you have been named the executor of a loved one’s estate, you may be feeling overwhelmed by the responsibilities involved and not know where to even begin. Furthermore, as a beneficiary, you may have question about your inheritance and certainly want to make sure that the person administering the estate is doing his or her job correctly.
Fortunately for people with a stake in a probate proceeding, legal representation and advice are available. Missouri probate lawyer Kenneth P. Carp has been practicing law for more than 25 years and regularly works with estate administrators, beneficiaries, trustees, and other parties with an interest in probate proceedings.
Planning for Probate is Essential
One of the most important roles of a probate attorney often involves avoiding the process entirely. Probate can be costly and time-consuming, and many people who are involved in the estate planning process would likely to have their property pass directly to their heirs and beneficiaries without the involvement of a court. There are many ways that a probate attorney could help you achieve this goal, including the following:
• Putting assets into a living trust
• Utilizing joint ownership of assets
• Beneficiary real estate deeds
In many cases, an experienced attorney will be able to ensure that all of your assets transfer directly to your heirs and beneficiaries without having to go through probate, potentially saving both time and money.
Proving Representation and Counsel throughout the Probate Process
There are many reasons that a person may require legal advice or representation during probate. Some of the more common include the following:
• Will Contests – If a beneficiary of a will believes that it is invalid for some reason, he or she can object to it during probate. Common reasons that a will is challenged include allegations of undue influence on the part of another beneficiary, lack of capacity to create a will, or the existence of a subsequent will.
• Assistance with Executor Duties – While being named as the executor of an estate can be a great honor, it can also involve substantial responsibilities, such as determining the assets of an estate, filing taxes, paying debts, and more. Executors can hire an attorney for advice regarding specific matters or to handle the entire process on their behalf.
• Breach of Fiduciary Duties – Executors and trustees have a fiduciary duty to the estate’s beneficiaries. In cases where duties are not being properly discharged, the beneficiaries may be able to bring a civil action.
Call a St. Louis Probate Lawyer Today to Discuss Your Situation
If you are involved in probate, would like to avoid having your assets go through the process, or have questions regarding a specific probate issue in Missouri, you should talk to a lawyer as soon as possible. To schedule a free consultation with Missouri probate attorney Kenneth P. Carp, call our office today at 636-947-3600 or contact us online.