Avoid Probate with Living Trusts                              For FREE Consultation Call: 636-532-9933

Q: What is Probate?

Chess pieces - One lying downA: Probate is the legal process through which the court makes sure that, when you die, your debts are paid and your assets are distributed according to your wishes in your Will. If you don't have a valid Will, your assets are distributed according to our state’s law.

Q: What's so bad about Probate?

A: 1) MONEY - It is expensive. Lawyer and Personal Representative (executor) fees and other costs must be paid before your assets are distributed to your heirs. Fees and costs can be 6 to 8% of an estate's value. View schedule of probate fees in Missouri

2) TIME - It takes anywhere from 9 months to 2 years. For some of this time, assets are usually frozen so an accurate inventory can be taken. So that, no assets can be distributed or sold without court and/or executor approval. Your heirs can’t “get on with their lives” without awaiting the end of a slow process.

3) PUBLICITY - Probate Court is a public process, so anyone can open the court file and see what assets you owned, your bank account numbers and balances and who you owed money to.

4) CONTROL - Your family has no control. The probate court process determines how much it will cost, how long it will take, and what information is made public.

Q: Why would I want a Living Trust? Why not just a simple Will?

A: A Will may not be the best plan for you and your family, primarily because a Will does not avoid probate court when you die. A Will must be filed and verified by the probate court before any assets can be transferred. Also, Wills can only go into effect after you die. That provides no protection if you become physically or mentally incapacitated. The probate court, thru guardianship and conservatorship could easily take control of your assets before you die.

Q: What is a Living Trust?Living Trust document

A: A Living Trust is a legal document that, just like a Will, contains your instructions for what you want to happen to your assets when you die. ("who, gets what, and when"). But, unlike a Will, a Living Trust avoids probate at death, and prevents the court from controlling your assets at your incapacity or your death.

Q: How does a Living Trust avoid probate and prevent court control of assets at incapacity?

(1) Probate Court controls the property of a deceased owner.

(2) When you make your Living Trust, you transfer title of your assets from your name to your Trust, (which you control). Legally (on paper) everything now is owned by your Trust.

(3) So that, when you die, SINCE THE TRUST (the owner of the assets) IS A PIECE OF PAPER THAT NEVER DIES, the probate court has no ability to control those assets. - There is no deceased owner! - The concept is quite simple. This is what keeps your property, heirs and family out of Probate Court.

Q: Do I keep control of the assets in my Trust?

A: Absolutely! You keep full control . As Trustee of your Trust, you can do anything you could do before — buy and sell assets, spend money, borrow money and change or even cancel your Trust (that's why it's called a Revocable Living Trust). You even file the same tax returns. Nothing changes but the names on the titles.

Q: Is a Living Trust expensive?

A: Living Trusts cost more to prepare than Wills. But, Living Trusts are much less expensive than the fees and costs that come with Probate Court. Your fee will depend on what you wish to accomplish. At our FREE consultation we will quote an exact fee (not a "range" or "ballpark") before any work is begun.

For FREE Consultation Call: 636-532-9933

~ Serving clients in Chesterfield, Town & Country, Ballwin, Wildwood, Ellisville, Creve Coeur, Des Peres, St. Charles, Eureka, Kirkwood, Ladue, St. Peters, O'Fallon, Weldon Spring and other communities in the St Louis Metro area. ~