January 2014 Archives

What is the number one estate planning pitfall?

As many Missouri residents know, estate planning is a multi-step process that requires much care and diligence. With the proper attention paid to it, an estate plan can make known a person's financial objectives, and advance health care wishes. Plus, it can also protect a person's heirs from losing a large portion of their inheritances to probate tax laws.

Deciding who to designate as the executor of an estate

As many Missouri residents are likely aware, the purpose of an estate plan is to ensure that a person's final wishes are carried out. Every estate planning documents serves to meet that purpose -- wills, living wills and trusts all state what should be carried out upon a person's death.

The importance of planning for end-of-life care

Estate planning -- and in particular planning end-of-life care -- is important not just for older adults in Missouri but for young adults as well. While thinking about death is not the most pleasant thing for anyone to contemplate, making decisions early on can avoid heartache down the road.

When problems arise during the probate process

Even with a will in place it is possible for issues to arise during probate. To back up for those unfamiliar with estate planning terms, a "will" is a legal document that states where a person wants his property to go when he dies, and "probate" is the process by which property is transferred from a person who has died (the decedent) to the person's chosen beneficiaries.

Professor's gift to friend challenged by estate executor

Two weeks ago, we discussed how an executor should handle a strange-looking will. As we pointed out, when a will doesn't look right, there are several steps an executor can take to challenge it. Along those lines, we would like to share a story that shows the steps that a person on either side of a similar situation can take to resolve a dispute.