BRIEF OVERVIEW OF YOUR ESTATE PLANNING OPTIONS
We have prepared a brief overview of your estate planning options in Missouri. Hopefully this will be of benefit to you. We look at what you assets and listen to you goals and then match the estate planning tool that is right for you and your family. We want to ensure you have control of your things during your life and that your things go to whom you want upon your death. Our goal is to avoid the costs and delays of probate, avoid death taxes, and plan ahead for the possibility of long term nursing home care, and to assist your loved ones at your death.
In a quick nutshell, your options are as follows:
I. DO NOTHING. If you die without an estate plan, then someone else makes these important decisions for you. In Missouri there are a series of laws called “Intestate Succession”. These laws determine where you things go and who receives them. Your estate is then probated with the associated costs and delays, you lose privacy as your affairs are then a matter of public record.
II. LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT. If you die with a Will your wishes are carried out, and it is generally inexpensive but again your estate is probated with all the same cost, delays and lack of privacy. It should be noted that probate generally costs your family much more than the cost of just doing a Trust in the first place.
III. NON PROBATE TRANSFERS LAW. In 1989 the Missouri legislature enacted a series of laws giving you the right to do certain documents that avoid probate. (Examples include: beneficiary deeds, T.O.D. designations on titles, P.O.D. designations on bank accounts, etc.) These document work well on very simple estates and do avoid probate. These documents are not however very flexible and do not allow for death tax planning, or planning for long term nursing care. They are not overly expensive depending on the documents prepared.
IV. REVOCABLE LIVING TRUST. These documents are tried and true and have been around since the days of the Roman Empire. Once prepared, they avoid probate, avoid or greatly reduce death taxes, and allow for Medicaid and nursing home planning. They are private documents keeping your private matters private. They are very flexible and within reason “If you can dream it up, we can write it up”. They are somewhat expensive depending on the documents prepared, and the work involved in carrying out your wishes. It should be noted that a Trust generally more than pays for itself, by avoiding probate.
The Law Offices Of Allen & Rector, P.C. - 135 Harwood Lebanon, Missouri 65536 - (417) 532-8300 Call Toll Free: 1-866-228-4995
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