Estate Planning Missouri

Wills – Trusts – Medical Directives

Life is short and full of uncertainties. People get in accidents. People die unexpectedly. People leave young children behind. Estates end up in probate. Kids become wards of the State. This is why you need an Estate Planning Attorney.

A little planning can go a long way.

Fred Vilbig AttorneyWith a Power of Attorney, you can arrange for someone to handle your finances when you no longer can. You can designate who will handle things for you. You can authorize a full range of investments; maintain retirement accounts and life insurance; permit the continuation or sale of a business; provide for the payment or challenge of taxes; allow for the management of government benefits; and enable a spouse or other family member access to any medical records.

With a Medical Directive, you can empower someone to make medical decisions for you when you’re not able, and you can decide on end of life issues outside of a time of crisis when you can participate. You can designate who will make medical decisions when you are not able to, including contracts for care, consent to treatment, admission to an removal from facilities, and your overall medical treatment. You can also authorize hospitals and doctors to talk to the people you choose. The medical directive also includes a living will that permits you to be removed from machines when you are in a persistent vegetative state with no reasonable hope for improvement, much less recovery.

Without a medical directive, the court will decide all of these things for you, and you will be attached to machines for the indefinite future. This can result in a severe financial and emotional burden for your family.

With a Will, you can designate guardians for your children. You can appoint a personal representative to administer your probate assets. You can designate where and how your probate estate is to be distributed. You can provide for the distribution of personal items, such as jewelry and collectibles. You can also authorize the independent administration of your estate and the sale of property without court oversight.

Without a will, the courts will administer your probate estate. All of your family members can jointly be appointed as your personal representative, which typically results in paralysis. Your children will become guardians of the state. In addition, your property will be distributed pursuant to state law. If any of the beneficiaries are under 18, all of their assets will be administered by the courts. If they are over 18, everything will be distributed outright. Young people receiving large amounts of money rarely turn out well.

With a Trust, you can avoid probate. Probate is the public administration of your personal estate. Since it is public, with some effort, anyone can view the court file and see the assets that you own. In addition, probate fees will be due. Finally, the distribution of assets can be restricted at a time when your spouse and children needed the most.

With a trust you can also designate who will serve as your trustee and administer your assets for you. You can provide for the orderly administration of your estate, and for the distribution of your property, according to your wishes. You can provide for the creation of trusts for the protection of your children. You can also put  tax planning in your trust..

To accomplish these things, you should work with a knowledgeable Estate Planning Attorney. Homemade or internet estate plans often end up in court. That is a terrible inheritance to leave to your spouse and children.

Fred L. Vilbig has been an Estate Planning Attorney in the area of wills and trusts for over 30 years. For a free consultation, please call me at (314) 241-3963 or complete the form on the right. We will be in touch.

We just decided it was time to setup our estate planning. We saw too many people without a Will or Trust and all the problems it caused. Fred did a great job for us and we would highly recommend him to anyone.

— Ronald B. Gagnepain