Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm in St. Louis
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Trusted Estate Planning Advisers & Elder Law Advocates Protecting Your Health, Finances & Family

Helping You with Wills, Trusts & Estate Plans

30 Years of Experience – Wiseheart Kaiser Law Firm, LLC

Many people are under the common misconception that estate planning is reserved for the wealthy. This statement is far from true. While individuals with more assets are certainly likely to have lengthier or more complex estate plans, anyone with funds or properties in their name should have established legal documents in place to protect those assets. Estate planning is about more than just providing a will to divvy up your possessions, it is also about protecting your right to decide who can make choices for you if you cannot while you are living. In Missouri, without the proper estate plan, the probate court may choose who has authority to control your financial and medical decisions if you become incapacitated – even temporarily. Of course, in addition, a proper estate plan is also about protecting your assets and making sure your loved ones are cared for after you are gone. We help you and your loved ones save money, save time and save heartache. If you are ready to get started on your estate plan, our St. Louis County attorneys are here to help you.

Why Choose Wiseheart Kaiser Law Firm?

  • We have more than 30 years of legal experience.
  • We are dedicated to providing clients with individualized attention.
  • We don’t just hand you documents, we create a plan.
  • Our attorneys are compassionate and committed to our clients.
  • We offer affordable, quality services.
  • Our attorneys are also respected legal educators.

Are you ready to get started? Call our St. Louis attorneys at (314) 966-2226 to schedule your free consultation.

Estate Planning Services We Offer

Our attorneys can help draw up a variety of estate planning documents for your family, protecting your assets and your loved ones. Estate planning is an in-depth planning process which requires a customized strategy. There are a variety of professional documents that typically make up an estate plan, many of which may be customized to meet the needs of each individual. These estate planning documents can serve to inform your loved ones of your wishes if you are incapacitated or severely injured. Some documents can also specify your wishes after death, including specific burial sites, cremation preferences, and so on. A solid, reliable estate plan should be thorough, leaving no stone unturned. Our firm can work with you, discussing your wishes and explaining the best options for your customized plan.

The documents in an estate plan may include:

  • Will: A will, or a “Last Will and Testament,” is the most basic document in any estate plan. It serves to designate who will inherit your property and other assets upon your death. A will should also list who has the power and responsibility of handling your affairs. It can be used to make donations to charities and to appoint legal guardianship over minor children. Through the probate process, the Personal Representative (formerly known as an Executor) of the will is able to gather your assets, pay remaining debts, and distribute the remaining property as you specified in your will. However, this can only take place after a judge has deemed the will valid.
  • Pour-Over Will: As a part of revocable trust planning, a pour-over will can be used as a safety net provision to protect any assets that were not transferred to your revocable trust while you were alive. The pour-over will can ensure that those properties are transferred to the appropriate trust through the probate process after your death, as well as all non-trust assets not controlled by your beneficiary or by ownership with joint tenants. In order to avoid probate completely, all of your assets must be transferred to your trust while you are living, but the pour-over will can act as a back-up plan.
  • Trusts: Similar to wills, trusts may also be used to divide assets, though trusts leave these assets under the management of a trustee until the beneficiary, (or recipient), is able. Usually beneficiaries are given access to their trust when they reach a certain age. Revocable trusts can be some of the best tools used to protect your assets and your family’s future.
  • Revocable Trusts: Also called a living trust, a revocable trust allows the trustmaker to retain full control over the trust, even revoking it and returning all assets if they should wish. These can be great tools for individuals looking to avoid probate, plan for disability, or just to ensure privacy. A revocable trust can allow you to main control and flexibility during your lifetime while still passing your property to your heirs when and how you wish. If you are married, a revocable trust can continue to benefit your survivor if one of you dies, and it can also protect your assets if a remarriage occurs after the death of one spouse. Additionally, it can protect the inheritance of your children and grandchildren from mismanagement, and structure it in such a way that installs your values and virtues.
  • Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts: In a tax-favored environment, life insurance assets can serve numerous purposes. In an estate plan, life insurance proceeds are received without income taxes and can be received free of estate tax if owned by an irrevocable life insurance trust.
  • General Durable Power of Attorney: A general durable power of attorney grants power to another person to handle general matters, including financial decisions, on your behalf. In this instance, because it is “durable,” the power of attorney grants this person signature power even in the event that you become incapacitated.
  • Health Care Durable Power of Attorney: Unlike general durable power of attorney, health care durable power of attorney does not grant someone power to make general decisions on your behalf. Instead, he or she has the power to make health-related decisions for you should you become incapacitated or no longer able to make such decisions on your own.

  • Advanced Health Care Directives: An Advanced Health Care Directive (also called a living will) acts to convey your medical wishes and preferences in advance. This way, if you are faced with a medical emergency, your family and loved ones can be informed of your wishes. A living will can also help support these decisions, backing up your Healthcare Power of Attorney and providing specific directions to doctors about your preferences and decisions. This might include a decision not to resuscitate, or a refusal to use life support machines.

Trust Administration

In addition to helping individuals work to ensure that their assets and properties are properly managed, our firm can assist you with trust administration. Trust administration is the process of managing a trust once the trustmaker is no longer able to do so. The person who the trustmaker selected as successor trustee will be responsible for managing trust properties.

When the trustmaker dies, the process typically requires numerous steps, beginning with a formal notice to each beneficiary. The trust administrator, or successor trustee, must then take necessary action to ensure that all assets and real properties are divided according to the trustee’s wishes. Furthermore, he or she will be responsible for handling any outstanding debts or liabilities.

Our attorneys can guide you through the trust administration process. We work to ensure that various aspects of trust administration are handled correctly and properly documented, as well as help successor trustees understand the extent of their obligation.

Updating an Estate Plan

As your life changes and time passes, your estate plan should be updated to accurately reflect those new developments or adjustments. Your estate plan is essentially a snapshot of your life at the time you created it. It reflects your current assets, family, and the tax laws that were in effect at the time of its creation. When times change and your family and assets grow, you may need to tweak, modify, or completely replace your existing estate plan. Our experienced St. Louis attorneys can work with you to make the adjustments you need depending on your current needs. We can sit down with you, discuss your current state of health, financial situation, family dynamics, and other key information that could impact your estate planning documents. In order to protect your assets and care for your family after you’re gone, it is essential that you have the most accurate, updated estate plan possible at all times.

Whether you need help establishing an estate plan or revising any existing documents, our firm is here to help. Contact Wiseheart Kaiser Law Firm to speak with our St. Louis estate planning attorneys.

Why Choose Our Firm?

  • Individualized Attention

  • 30 Years of Experience

  • Educators in Our Field

  • Top-Quality Representation

  • Dependable Client Advocates

  • Simplifying Complex Situations

  • Active Community Involvement

  • Highly Recommended Firm