Due to the widespread media awareness campaigns, many people in St. Charles, Missouri, have started paying serious attention to estate planning. Wills are being updated and trusts established, so that future generations can avoid probate court, where a number of complications may arise. In spite of such measures, probate disputes are common and huge estates are not passed on to intended heirs, but to government coffers through inheritance taxes.
Missouri residents who own significant wealth and assets, but not enough that they call themselves "ultra-rich," are often reluctant to engage in estate planning. It is often emotionally difficult for people to think about their own death and imagine what could be beyond that event.
In Missouri, a personal representative of an estate is ordinarily nominated in the will and appointed by the court after the testator's death. The court issues letters testamentary to the personal representative, which are the basis for the personal representative's authority to administer the estate. Within 20 days after a person passes away, if no application for letters testamentary is filed by the person who has the right to do so under the probate code, other people can file an application for the same purpose. In such a case, any person who is interested can file a petition with the circuit court's probate division.
A person who dies without making a legal will is referred to as "intestate." In such cases, probate litigation is automatically applied because no automatic legal heir was established by the deceased as required by Missouri law. Probate litigation is for people who have died without any legal heir or claimant to their property or estate.
As residents of St. Louis may know, a person can make different kinds of arrangements to ensure that ownership of any property or asset is smoothly conveyed to heirs upon death. While some people set up joint ownership accounts or mechanisms to automatically transfer ownership, the most straightforward route involves writing a will to specify how assets and liabilities may be divided or disposed of, as the case may be.
St. Charles, Missouri residents may have heard about cases where a parent dies and wealth transfers to a spouse who remarries and then dies, leaving property to the current spouse. Children from the first marriage are left with no inheritance, if the step-parent omits them from his or her will. This recounting shows the importance of planning an estate and drafting a will while a parent is alive.
Nobody knows what will happen from one minute to the next in life. Life is unpredictable and cannot be totally planned. However, everybody dreams of a long and fulfilling life. Many people in Missouri want their future to be better than their present and they work hard to achieve their goals. Numerous people take one goal at a time and save money and other assets for themselves and for their heirs. Since each person has a different plan for their property and assets, their estate planning is also different from other people's estate plans.
The trauma of unexpectedly losing a loved one is significantly compounded by the legal complications that follow. In St. Louis, Missouri, as well as other states, a sudden demise can lead to a bitter contest about the estate of the deceased in the event the person did not register a will. When it is left to a court to decide who might administer the estate of such an individual, the first question is of the identity of the actual heir or heirs. Often, this gets complicated if there is potential for enrichment upon the estate's division.
The unexpected death of a family member or loved one typically brings sorrow to relatives and close friends. For some families, though, there is also the pain of dealing with the properties and assets an adult may have left behind.
A person's will and trust are extremely important to those they leave behind. Probate law applies after a person's death and the court identifies the deceased person's possessions, determining taxes and other administrative expenses, and finally allocating the property to legal heirs as directed in the will. If there is no legally binding will, the estate is divided according to state laws. Probate litigation means that the will is contested. Recently, Philip Seymour Hoffman's death revealed that he had prepared a will and trust.