ESTATE PLANNING AND PROBATE

Many people mistakenly believe estate planning is for wealthy individuals or those who have substantial investments. Estate planning is more than just about money and assets. Estate planning can be a powerful tool to protect your spouse, your children, and your legacy.

Also, a common misconception many people have is thinking that estate planning is only creating a plan for the distribution of their assets after their death. Estate planning covers planning for unexpected and unavoidable health and family events both during your lifetime and after your death.

Jason D. Smith’s estate planning process allows him to prepare contingency plans for any event during your life, as well as a plan for your estate after you die.

Estate planning involves creating a plan to manage your wealth while you are alive and then distributing it after you die.

Individuals can also plan to ensure their wishes are respected in case of an emergency. A spouse or another person can be appointed to make medical decisions for you in the event you are unable to do so.

Parents should also create a plan to ensure that their minor children (under 18 years of age) are taken care of in the event both parents become incapacitated, disabled or deceased. Formally naming a guardian for your minor children in your estate plan before these events occur is essential. Even if you have already expressed your wishes with the person you want to serve as guardian, when tragedy strikes, even the best intentions can be lost in deep emotions. A custody battle between relatives is something that your children should not have to go through during a traumatizing situation. Call Jason D. Smith to avoid these potential problems.

Many people mistakenly believe estate planning is for wealthy individuals or those who have substantial investments. Estate planning is more than just about money and assets. Estate planning can be a powerful tool to protect your spouse, your children, and your legacy.

Also, a common misconception many people have is thinking that estate planning is only creating a plan for the distribution of their assets after their death. Estate planning covers planning for unexpected and unavoidable health and family events both during your lifetime and after your death.

Jason D. Smith’s estate planning process allows him to prepare contingency plans for any event during your life, as well as a plan for your estate after you die.

Estate planning involves creating a plan to manage your wealth while you are alive and then distributing it after you die.

Individuals can also plan to ensure their wishes are respected in case of an emergency. A spouse or another person can be appointed to make medical decisions for you in the event you are unable to do so.

Parents should also create a plan to ensure that their minor children (under 18 years of age) are taken care of in the event both parents become incapacitated, disabled or deceased. Formally naming a guardian for your minor children in your estate plan before these events occur is essential. Even if you have already expressed your wishes with the person you want to serve as guardian, when tragedy strikes, even the best intentions can be lost in deep emotions. A custody battle between relatives is something that your children should not have to go through during a traumatizing situation. Call Jason D. Smith to avoid these potential problems.

It is important to plan how your personal property and assets will be divided. If you fail to properly express your decisions on how to divide these assets, Missouri law will govern the disposition of your assets. Those laws may not provide for those people you want to provide for. Don’t have Missouri law dictate who will get your assets at your passing. Discuss your options with Jason D. Smith. It will help to avoid unpleasant or unnecessary complications in the future.

Estate planning involves the preservation and disposition of your assets during your lifetime and after your death. It’s about achieving your personal and/or family goals, managing your legal and financial affairs more efficiently, and minimizing taxes if you have enough estate to worry about taxes. An estate is any asset of any value, which includes real property, business interests, investments, and personal property and effects. An “estate plan” is a way to ensure that your estate passes to those you want upon your death. There are many ways to plan your estate, including:

  • Wills and Trusts
  • Powers of Attorney
  • Irrevocable Trusts
  • Special Needs Trusts
  • Nursing Home Planning
  • Medicaid Asset Protection

People who don’t coordinate their various methods of passing on an estate can run into problems. A well-drafted estate plan will help ensure your estate goes to the people you choose. If planned properly, an estate plan will avoid the complex and costly legal process known as Probate. An estate plan will help you preserve what you have worked so hard to build. There are many options in estate planning. Choose your estate planning attorney carefully.

Jason D. Smith wants you to feel confident in the decisions you make. Let him guide you down the path of preserving your family’s future.

More about Wills and Trusts

Last Will and Testament

Many people incorrectly think that if they have a Will, their assets will not have to go through the probate process. If you only have a Will, your assets will still likely need to go through the probate process. Your Will only instructs the Probate Court on who to give your assets to. To enforce the terms of your Last Will and Testament, the Will must first be admitted to probate before the one-year anniversary of your death. It is not enough to simply file or present the Will to the Probate Court. The Will must also be admitted to probate by the Court.

Trusts

Trusts are one of the most popular estate planning tools. Although many trust types are available, the most popular and widely used is the Revocable Living Trust. A trust allows you to make both simple and complicated distributions to beneficiaries. Some examples of trust distributions include spreading out payments to beneficiaries over time or keeping funds in a trust for minor children. The use of a trust can also protect your beneficiaries’ inheritance from failed marriages or their own creditors. A trust can avoid the requirement of probate for your assets. However, a trust only avoids probate for those assets held by the trust. It does not avoid probate for those assets not held by the trust. Therefore, it is important to discuss these and other trust matters with an experienced estate planning and probate attorney.
Jason D. Smith has been drafting trusts for Missouri families for over 15 years. He has seen the benefits received by those families from using his knowledge, experience and the trusts he has drafted for them. Contact Jason D. Smith to learn more about the uses and benefits of the Revocable Living Trust.