Bolinger Law Firm, LLC – St. Louis Estate Planning Attorney.

Whether you need to update your current estate plan or it is your first experience with estate planning, at Bolinger Law Firm, LLC we provide quality estate planning services that minimize estate taxes, protect your well-being and provide for loved ones. Whether you need a simple will or a complex estate plan, we will counsel you through the estate planning process and develop an estate plan that accurately reflects and accomplishes your desires. Since you must take numerous financial, medical and emotional considerations when developing an estate plan, it is important to speak with an estate planning attorney to ensure that that your estate plan minimizes the estate tax burden while also empowering your loved ones’ futures.

At Bolinger Law Firm, LLC, we develop meaningful relationships with our clients so we can create successful estate plans that minimize estate tax, avoid probate and provide for those closest to you. Since there is not a universal estate plan that accomplishes everyone’s goals, an estate planning attorney with the Bolinger Law Firm, LLC will develop the proper estate plan to specifically meet your objectives. Estate Planning is a broad topic that includes wills, trusts, powers of attorney, charitable giving, living wills, asset protection, guardianships, conservatorships and non probate transfers. Not every planning technique is necessary to create a successful estate plan, so it is important to speak with a St. Louis estate planning attorney to develop a plan that accomplishes your goals. Call us today at (636) 386-8322 to speak with a St. Louis estate planning attorney or schedule an appointment.

At Bolinger Law Firm, LLC we provide the following estate planning services to clients throughout the St. Louis MO metropolitan area:

Wills

Trusts

Powers of Attorney

Living Wills

Probate and Estate Administration

Non Probate Transfers

Asset Protection

Probate and Trust Litigation

Guardianships/Conservatorships

What property is included in my gross estate?

An individual’s gross estate includes the value of property, real and personal, tangible and intangible, and wherever situated, that you have an interest in or control over. Therefore, an individual’s gross estate includes assets such as real estate, bank accounts, stocks, bonds, business ownership interests, vehicles and personal property. The valuation of the property included in your gross estate is determined in accordance with the fair market value of those assets at the time of death. The fair market value of an asset is the price that would be agreed on between a willing buyer and a willing seller, with neither being required to act, and both having reasonable knowledge of the relevant facts. Therefore, the fair market value of all your assets at death is your “gross estate” and is subject to the imposition of federal estate taxes.

What property is included in my probate estate?

An individual’s probate estate differs from their gross estate in that the probate estate only encompasses property that passes through a probate proceeding in a court of the individual’s domicile. Therefore, an individual’s probate estate does not include property with beneficiary designations, property titled a trust, or property passed via another non probate transfer, all of which pass outside of probate. Typically, an individual’s probate estate is smaller than their gross estate. Additionally, the individual’s probate estate is subject to the imposition of court costs and fees associated with the administration of the probate estate.

How does my property pass at my death?

Upon death, your property is either transferred through a probate proceeding or according to the terms of a non probate transfer. Property that does not have an effective beneficiary designation, is not held in limited forms of property ownership or is not held in trust is distributed to your beneficiaries through a probate proceeding. On the other hand, property with valid beneficiary designations, held in limited forms of property ownership, held in trust, or utilizing another non probate transfer technique avoids the probate proceeding and is transferred to your beneficiaries according the instruments terms. A major goal of estate planning is the avoidance of probate proceeding due to the associated time, expense and public exposure.

Why do I need an estate plan?

Estate Planning is a broad topic that includes the planning, transferring and sheltering of your assets as well as your well-being. Since thinking about our own mortality can be an unpleasant experience, people often overlook or postpone estate planning. However, the failure to execute an estate plan during your life can be detrimental to your loved ones by increasing the time, cost and emotional burden. Additionally, if you were to become incapacitated and unable to make medical or financial decisions, the effective use of estate planning maintains your affairs without delay or interruption.

Why do I want to avoid probate?

The avoidance of probate is one of the major goals of estate planning for good reason. The probate process can be time consuming and costly to properly administer an estate. Additionally, the probate proceeding becomes a matter of public record and people often prefer to keep their affairs private. Therefore, it is important to plan ahead so that the your loved ones do not have to bear unnecessary burdens.