You’ve no doubt heard the word probate used in relation to a loved one’s estate. Probate can refer to the court process of validating a Will so an executor (also known as a “personal representative” in Missouri) can implement the decedent’s wishes or a court’s oversight of the administration and disposition of the assets of an estate. Whether a Will exists or not, the process of settling an estate can be complex, so the person who assumes those duties needs the advice of a knowledgeable probate lawyer. Further, Missouri law requires that, for most estates, the executor or administrator must be represented by a qualified attorney. At Dearing & Hartzog, L.C., our attorneys have extensive experience advising clients who act as executors and administrators, and we often assume those duties ourselves. Executors and administrators need sound guidance, since the law holds them personally liable for losses in the value of estate assets due to errors or misconduct. We can guide you through the complex process quickly and efficiently so you maximize the value of the estate for your loved one’s heirs.
Most executors have never probated a Will. When there is no Will, the least-reluctant or most-qualified close relative usually acts as personal representative of the estate after obtaining court approval. In most cases, the party responsible for settling the estate has no prior experience with tasks that include:
Estate representatives can easily make mistakes due to inexperience, stress and hasty decisions. We guide clients through every step of the probate process with reliable, detailed advice, so you can settle your loved one’s estate as efficiently, quickly and easily as possible.
Even in apparently straightforward estate cases, disputes sometimes arise among beneficiaries or between certain beneficiaries and the executor/administrator. When representing the personal representative or an aggrieved heir, our attorneys demonstrate the utmost professionalism in negotiations and in the courtroom. Whether the issue is a Will challenge or accusations against a fiduciary’s management of estate assets, we advocate strongly for our client’s rights.