When you start the process of estate planning, a will is often one of the first pieces of the puzzle to address. At Bolinger Law Firm in St. Louis, we know drafting a will and considering estate planning can be tough to think about. We take the time to get to know you, understand your goals, and thoroughly answer your questions so that your will accurately reflects your wishes and you feel at ease.
A will, often referred to as a Last Will and Testament, is a legal document and the backbone of an estate plan because it determines the distribution of your property passing through the probate process upon your death.
Additionally, within your will, you can designate who will care for your minor children in the event of your death. This is often the most important reason why parents with minor children need a will. Furthermore, your will ensures that your property is distributed according to your wishes and not left up to the courts to decide who gets what.
A validly executed will provides you with peace of mind and allows you to transfer your property to your loved ones in accordance with your desires.
An estate planning attorney at the Bolinger Law Firm will work closely with you to understand your desires and then create a will that accomplishes your goals while explaining the legal significance of those actions.
One of the biggest reasons people fail to execute a will is because they do not believe it is necessary or practical. However, this misconception leads to instances where, upon death, their property and finances do not provide adequate support for their loved ones, and everything gets tied up in probate for what can be months or even years.
If you were to pass away without executing a will, the state of Missouri would determine the distribution of your property. Depending on multiple factors, the state’s distribution may not be according to your wishes. Often, those who have been married more than once or have children with more than one partner, fail to recognize the implications this may cause for their loved ones upon their death.
Additionally, a will is imperative if you have minor children. A will allows you to nominate the Guardian(s) of your minor children in the event of death. If you and your spouse were to die without a will, a court would determine who should be the Guardians of your minor children. This is time-consuming and expensive and does not always place your children with those whom you believe would best raise them.
Your estate planning attorney at Bolinger Law Firm will be happy to discuss these issues with you and provide you with a will that properly addresses each unique situation.
A will expresses your desires regarding the transfer of property at your death, but what is actually contained within your will? Your will may specify:
When we start working on your estate plan, we will discuss all of the applicable legal, emotional, and financial considerations with you to develop a will that accurately reflects your wishes.
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Deciding who should be the personal representative of your probate estate is often a difficult decision that requires deliberate forethought. The personal representative, or executor, administers your probate estate, ensures closure of your affairs, and distributes property to your beneficiaries.
It is important to nominate an individual who is responsible, organized, has business acumen, and is thorough. Often, this is a spouse or family member, but be sure to account for family dynamics when choosing your personal representative.
Multiple individuals may also serve as the personal representative of your estate, though it is important to consider the relationships between them and their ability to resolve problems together. Sometimes, having multiple individuals is beneficial because their strengths and weaknesses may complement each other and enable the efficient administration of your probate estate.
A will codicil amends your current will with your updated desires. A will codicil is an effective tool when minor changes are necessary to your will, such as updating personal representatives. However, when substantial changes are required, it is often best to execute a new will that revokes all previous wills. Executing a new will provides greater organization and clarity while implementing provisions reflecting current law.
Whether this is your first experience developing a will or you just need to update your current one, our estate planning team will discuss all applicable considerations and create a will that accurately expresses your desires in accordance with Missouri law. We know how overwhelming this process can be; that's why we are here to help you take this important step toward protecting your loved ones with compassion.
Not only does creating a valid will effectively dispose of your property upon your death, it also provides you with peace of mind knowing that your loved ones are provided for in the event of your death.