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St. Louis Probate Attorney

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Dealing with loss is never easy, but facing the loss of a loved one can be even more challenging if the deceased did not leave behind a clear estate plan to settle pressing legal issues. Without a proper estate plan, the property will likely go through probate.

Probate is a court-supervised process where the assets of the deceased are divided and distributed to heirs. All wills must be probated and this process can become extremely complex very quickly. Rather than face this overwhelming legal issue alone, trust our experienced St. Louis probate attorneys to help you.

At Wiseheart Kaiser Law Firm, our probate attorneys understand how difficult it is to deal with legal issues while also coping with the loss of a loved one. Our goal is to take charge of the legal process, honoring your wishes and needs through every step of the legal process. We are estate planning educators, which means our attorneys are extremely familiar with the ins and outs of wills, probate, trusts, elder law, and everything in between. We can provide you with the legal guidance and information you need to make smart, informed decisions. With more than 30 years of combined legal experience in our field, we are confident we can help you.

Call our St. Louis probate lawyers at (314) 966-2226 to schedule your free consultation.

About the Probate Process

Probate can be extremely stressful, disheartening, lengthy, and expensive. If possible, it is always best to avoid probate court. However, if a loved one dies without an appropriate estate plan, then probate is usually unavoidable. If you are facing a probate issue, it is crucial that you have a probate attorney you can trust by your side.

An estate may be thrown into probate if the deceased did not leave behind the appropriate estate planning documents to clearly express the wishes of the deceased. Once the estate is in probate court, the court will evaluate the wishes of the deceased based on what estate planning documents exist, if any. The ultimate goal probate is not necessary to do what is fair but to do what the deceased person would have wanted.

The probate process in Missouri

At some point in life, you may find yourself having to deal with probate of a will and an estate. Having some knowledge on how this process works in Missouri will help you navigate this process on your own later down the line. Outlined below are 5 pieces of information that can help you understand probate laws.

1. Not all assets are apart of the probate process: Some assets that are not affected by probate laws include:

  • Joint property holding certain types of assets
  • Assets that are being held in a trust
  • Accounts with valid beneficiary designations
  • Assets being held in a “Transfer-on-death” or “Payable-on-death” account

2. It may take at least six months to go through the probate process against the estate: Creditors have the ability to file a claim against the estate, which the personal representative will have to accept or deny after reviewing.

3. The probate estate cannot end until taxes and claims are paid to the extent of the decedent’s assets.

4. Surviving spouses have rights to elect against the estate. The amount payable to a spouse depends on whether the decedent has children.

5. Some estates qualify for a simplified probate process: On estates valued under $40,000, a small estate Affidavit can be acquired without having to go through the probate process.

If you have any questions regarding the probate process or would like guidance in understanding what the best route to take would be, do not hesitate to contact our law offices. We are here to help you every step of the way.

Estate Administration

Estate administration involves the collection and distribution of a person’s assets, real properties, debts, and liabilities upon his or her death. An estate plan typically appoints a Personal Representative who is obligated to oversee the estate administration process. This person is responsible for paying off any outstanding debts and dividing assets according to the deceased’s wishes.

The process of estate administration can be a complicated one. The Personal Representative and all heirs must take the proper steps to ensure that the process is completed correctly. Our attorneys can assist you from start to finish. We have an in-depth knowledge of the estate administration process and can help you navigate the probate system.

Avoiding Probate in St. Louis

If you are concerned your estate may go into probate if something were to happen to you, our St. Louis firm can work with you to make sure that doesn’t happen. There are many legal solutions we can employ to help you avoid probate. By protecting your assets, developing a living trust, and making your will clear and legally binding, we can take the necessary steps to protect your estate and save your loved ones a world of hassle when the time comes.

Using Living Trusts to Avoid Probate

One of the ways our attorneys can help you avoid probate is by creating a living trust (also known as a revocable trust). Any property or assets transferred to a living trust during your lifetime is protected from probate. After the trustmaker dies, the successor trustee appointed by the trustmaker will have the power to transfer ownership to the beneficiaries named by the trustmaker. Like in any other trust, the trustmaker outlines specific wishes so that each beneficiary receives precisely what you wish, when you wish it. Usually, this process only takes the trustee a few weeks to divide the assets and should involve no court or lawyer fees.

Contact Wiseheart Kaiser Law Firm to speak with our St. Louis probate lawyers about your case.

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