St. Louis Estate Planning Formula Law

Do You Know How to Probate an Estate in Missouri?

Don’t face the complexities of probating an estate in Missouri alone. Learn why hiring an estate planning attorney can save you time and headaches.

Being asked to serve as an executor is flattering, as it shows someone you love trusts you enough to put you in charge of managing their estate. However, probating an estate is no simple task, says a recent article from The Mercury, “Planning Ahead: Do you really want to handle probating an estate on your own?”

Having an experienced estate planning attorney located in St. Louis  to help with probate may be the difference between years of headaches and a few months of involvement, but not being overwhelmed with finalizing your loved one’s estate.

Book a Call Now with Attorney Tony Westbrooks If You Think Your Family Needs a Missouri Probate.

First, do you have time or energy to deal with many different bureaucracies? Financial institutions, insurance companies, annuity providers, governmental entities and other entities can be challenging.

Next, are you familiar with the laws, procedures and tax laws in Missouri? If your loved one lived in your state, you’re about to learn how your state works. If your loved one lived in another state, you’ll need to learn a lot about how an estate is settled in a place you might never have been. However, you may need to travel to and take care of your loved one’s estate.

If your loved one owned property in more than one jurisdiction, being their executor may require you to become involved in a process called “ancillary probate,” where assets need to be transferred into the names of the beneficiaries listed in the will. You might need to work with an estate planning attorney from a second state to get this done.

Another consideration: are you prepared to navigate the family dynamics? This may not be too bad if you are the only heir. However, you may become embroiled in family spats if your loved one had a family of children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. If the family members are contentious, you may deal with more than bureaucracies.

A few other things you’ll need to know:

Some states have an estate tax, while others have an inheritance tax. Even if there’s no federal estate tax due on the estate, you’ll need to address these two taxes.

The inheritance tax follows the jurisdiction of the decedent, not the beneficiary. If the state has an inheritance tax, it doesn’t matter if you live out of state. Heirs still must pay the tax.

Non-probate property may still be taxed. In some states, like Pennsylvania, property passed through a Revocable Living Trust is still taxable for the state’s inheritance tax. So is property passing as “Payable on Death” (POD) or Transfer on Death (TOD). Jointly titled assets are taxable at a proportionate share of the value.

These details are just a few reasons an experienced estate planning attorney brings value to the estate. It’s not easy for a layperson to settle an estate without the help of skilled professionals.

If you believe your family will need probate, book a call with Attorney Tony Westbrooks now.

Reference: The Mercury (Jan. 31, 2024) “Planning Ahead: Do you really want to handle probating an estate on your own?”

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