Estate Planning Attorney

Estate planning involves arranging your affairs to be handled by the people you want when you become unable to handle them yourself due to illness, incapacity or death. It involves thinking about the future and having the right documents to help make sure your wishes are carried out rather than having the state make those decisions.

Our estate planning attorneys can help you prepare a plan for managing your property, choose a power of attorney, create wills and trusts, and make sure you have all other needed documents to manage your estate when the time comes.

Cases Types:

  • Estate Planning
  • Healthcare Directive Durable Power of Attorney
  • Living Will
  • Living Trust
  • Beneficiary Deed Warranty Deed
  • Non-probate Transfers

Beneficiary Deed

A Beneficiary deed conveys an interest in real property to a grantee designated by the owner or owners of the property which expressly states that the deed is not to take effect until the death of the owner (or the last surviving owner).

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A beneficiary deed transfers the interest in the property to the designated grantee or grantees upon the death of the owner or owners, if the deed is properly executed and recorded in the city or county in which the real property is situated.

Information Needed from you to create this:

  • Name(s) of person(s) to receive the property after the death of current owner
  • Name(s) of current owner
  • Description of property


A conservator is a person or a corporation, such as a bank or trust company, appointed by a court to manage the property of a person who has been legally determined to be disabled.

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A person determined by the court to be disabled is referred to as a “protectee”. The court may find total or partial disability or incapacity. If the court finds partial, the protectee is still declared competent but losses only specified rights in the court order. A disabled person is one who is ‘unable by reason of any physical or mental condition to receive and evaluate information or to communicate decisions to such as extent that the person lacks the ability to manage his or her financial resources.

A conservator under the supervision of the court is responsible for the protection and management of the protectee’s financial estate. An appointment may be necessary for minor when they are to receive property from some source other than from his or her parents, such as a settlement of a personal injury claim, inheritance from a decedent’s estate. Parents have the first priority to for appointment of a minor child.

Durable Power of Attorney

This is a document in which you name someone to handle your business matters if you can’t do so yourself.

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With a durable power of attorney, you can name someone to handle your business affairs immediately, or when a specific event occurs, such as your incapacity (this is sometimes called a “springing power of attorney”).

Information needed from you to create this:

  • names, addresses and phone numbers of the person or persons you want to give your power of attorney (attorney-in-fact).


A guardian is a person who has been appointed by a court to be in charge of the care and custody of a minor or of an adult person who has been legally determined to be incapacitated.

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The incapacitated person is referred to as “ward”. An incapacitated person is one who is unable to receive and evaluate information, or communicate decisions. He or she lacks the capacity to meet essential requirements for food, clothing, shelter or safety. A guardian must always act in the best interest of the “ward” as to education, shelter, health, support and maintenance.

A guardian must report to the court annually on the “wards” condition. If the minor has no parents, then the court will appoint the most suitable or qualified person whether it be chosen by the minor or named in a will. Usually an adult relative is willing to serve.

Healthcare Directive (Living Will)

The most commonly prepared document is a durable power of attorney for health care or living will.

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The most commonly prepared document is a durable power of attorney for health care or living will. End- of – life decisions are personal. A living will spells out your wishes in the event you are in a persistent vegetative state. Living wills handle the very sensitive issues of whether we want to be provided with food and fluids at the very end of life. It answers the question if our bodies should be kept alive in the event our brain is no longer functioning.

It answers the question if our bodies should be kept alive in the event our brain is no longer functioning. It addresses issues of pain medication and with withholding of life sustaining support when that support would only serve to artificially prolong the process of dying. By preparing a living will, you express your wishes saving others from making these painful and difficult decisions for you. A living will is as comforting to your family as it is to you. You make the decisions – NOW!

Information needed from you to create this:

  • Attorney in fact – the name, address and phone number of the person(s) who you designate to speak for you.
  • Know which medical care you wish to be withheld (list).

Premarital Agreements

Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements can prevent bitter, time-consuming and expensive litigation should you ever need to get a divorce or dissolution.

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These agreements are especially useful for couples with substantial assets, previous marriages or situations when one spouse is expecting a large inheritance. They are also useful in estate planning as they allow a person to leave property or assets to their children upon death, including those from previous marriages.

Nonprobate Transfers

Nonprobate Transfers include: transfer on death designations made on titles, bank accounts, investment accounts, etc.

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Joint ownership of property and bank accounts, etc.; life insurance beneficiary designations, Trusts, Beneficiary Deed, gifts, compensation, pension IRA’s – otherwise described as “a transfer of property taking place upon the death of the owner” and not subject to the laws of probate.


A trust can help protect assets, and save taxes for people with substantial assets. A trust can be a cost-saving tool.

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Living trusts are very popular because they can help avoid the delays and expenses of probate, the court supervised procedure of administering your will, and, in some cases, avoid Federal Estate Taxes.

A trust is a legal device that lets you stop being the legal “owner” of property but still control it. Trusts help avoid probate because they allow property in the trust to be transferred without going through the probate process.

Another use of living trusts is to help avoid conservatorship proceedings (called “guardianship” proceedings in some states) if you become incapacitated. Since you have already given someone the power to manage the assets in your trust, there is no need for a court to appoint someone.

A living trust is created by a written trust document. The document will name a person or entity to serve as trustee (normally you), a successor trustee to take over when the first trustee dies or becomes incapacitated, and it will also name the beneficiaries. In addition, the trust document will give instructions on how to manage and distribute the property in the trust.

Along with creating a trust document, the property that will be put in the trust must be transferred to it. You can place almost any type of property in it, including money, real estate, stocks, bonds, and automobiles.

Information needed from you to create this:

  • The name of successor trustee
  • The names of beneficiaries
  • A list of assets.

Special Needs Planning

Special needs require special considerations. This office can guide parents and guardians of children and adults through the ever changing and complicated maze of special needs life planning.

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These individuals often receive benefit assistance from the government. Pitfalls can occur when income from one source (parents or guardian) jeopardize the beneficiary’s access to need based government benefits. I will customize a plan to achieve the highest quality of life attainable while protecting the assets of a special needs person at every life stage.

Warranty Deed

A deed containing one or more covenants of title.

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Especially a deed that expressly guarantees the grantor’s good, clear title and that contains covenants concerning the quality of title, including guarantees of quiet enjoyment, right to convey, freedom from encumbrances, and defense of title against all claims.

Information needed from you to create this:

  • Names and addresses of Grantor(s)(seller)
  • Names and addresses of Grantee(s) (buyer)
  • The legal description of property.


A will is the most basic estate planning tool. Whether you create on or not, everyone has a will. The State has crafted one for you I the event you do not prepare one for yourself. Is it the right one for you?

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Probably not. The intestacy statute lays out a generic distribution of our assets if we die without a will. Nevertheless, this generic distribution is rarely right for the client. It is not customized to the family. If offers no protection for assets nor does is address issues dealing with assets to minors and may not appoint the proper people to serve as responsible parties to distribute your assets.

For all of those reasons and many more, a properly customized will is recommended for every client. They are required by law to be in writing. A formal will must be signed by you and witnessed according to special procedures.

With a will you can do many things, including:

  • Determine how your property will be distributed when you die. If you have no will, your property will be distributed according to state law. The property may not be distributed the way you want, since it is distributed without considering the needs or circumstances of the recipients.
  • Name your beneficiaries. These are the people whom you want to receive your property when you die.
  • Name an executor, called “Personal Representative” in Missouri. The executor will oversee your estate’s financial affairs during the probate process, including making sure your debts are paid and that your property is distributed in accordance with the instructions stated in your will. Without a will, the law designates someone to do that job and requires an expensive bond to be filed. That person chosen may not be the person you would want to serve in this capacity.
  • Set up a trust. For married couples who have minor children, wills are essential. Each spouse should have a will in order to select a guardian for the children in case both parents die while the children are still minors. Although the guardian usually is chosen by the court, the court normally picks the person recommended unless there is a compelling reason to choose someone else.
    Information needed from you to create this:
  • Name of person to be personal representative and successor personal representative;
  • Names of children and spouse (if any)
  • Names of other beneficiaries.
  • List of assets – suggestion of distribution of financial and personal effects is not necessary for first attorney consultation
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