Have you witnessed a friend or family member struggle through the probate process after the death of a loved one? If so, you know the realities of probate can be very complicated. Also, they can be time-consuming, physically and emotionally distressing, and costly. You can spare your own loved ones this heartache by creating an estate plan to avoid the probate process.
The Lengthy, Complicated Probate Process
In Missouri, if you or a loved one dies without any sort of estate planning (i.e. a will, a trust, or non-probate transfers), you are considered to have died “intestate”. In effect, intestate means without a will. Your property and assets will pass through probate. This can take months to years and may end up being distributed in ways you don't expect. That is to say, those valuables may go to someone your loved one may not have approved of. Worse, they could become the property of the State of Missouri.
Why do I want to avoid probate?
The avoidance of probate court is a major goal of estate planning – at an already emotional and trying time, the probate process can be very time-consuming, confusing, inconvenient, emotionally distressing, and costly, especially if your loved ones try to sort it out without legal counsel. Probate proceedings also become public record.
Without an estate plan, probate will tie up or make the equity unavailable from your home, vehicles, jewelry, heirlooms, college and retirement funds, and even minor belongings, leaving your family to make mortgage payments and find the means to survive until probate is settled, which in some cases, can take years. What probate can delay, money and resources, are the very things your family needs after you pass.
Where to Begin with Probate
The administration of an individual’s probate requires many complicated tasks that need to be handled legally, so when an estate is “settled,” creditors or other family members can’t come back later and try to take income, property, or items that belong to the beneficiaries.
These tasks include:
- applying for Letters of Administration
- publishing notice to creditors
- inventory and appraisal of all assets
- administering and selling property
- if necessary, paying debts, claims, taxes and expenses
- retitling property
- preparing a settlement
- distributing the assets
This is where estate planning attorney, Drew Bolinger, can be of tremendous value to you and your family.
Contact Bolinger Law Firm Today for Your Free Consultation
If you’re in the terribly unfortunate situation of having had a loved one recently die and need legal assistance with probate, contact us today. We offer a free consultation and can help get you on the right path. Our caring legal team is here for you, to be your trusted voice during your current probate situation. We will help you face the realities of probate and create your own estate plan. 636-386-8322