Wills and trusts are the principal legal instruments attorneys use to help clients transfer assets to their heirs. The experienced attorneys at Dearing & Hartzog, L.C. can advise you as to the best instrument for you to utilize to address your estate planning concerns, including the transfer of financial and real property assets, estate tax avoidance, guardianships for minor children, and support for philanthropic causes.
If you die without a Will or other estate planning documents, the court determines how your property is distributed, who cares for your children and even what happens to your pet; these decisions might not reflect your desires. We draft valid Wills and other documents that clearly convey your intentions.
In connection with estate planning and asset protection prior to a marriage (in conjunction with your overall estate plan and also to protect assets in the event of a dissolution of marriage), we are available to assist in preparing or reviewing prenuptial agreements.
It is a good idea to review your Will with your attorney every three to five years and update the Will to reflect changes in your circumstances and priorities. Updates may be used to address changes in your financial situation, marital status, number of children, circumstances relating to your children or the guardians previously designated in your estate plan, philanthropic interests and general lifestyle decisions.
Depending on your financial circumstances, your assets, and your preference, the creation of a a trust may be the best way for you to transfer assets to your heirs. Trusts, legal entities you create to hold and transfer your property, can facilitate the transfer of your property at the time of your death without involving probate administration; trusts can also make it easier for your assets to be utilized to care for you or others in the event of your disability. The most common form of trust is a revocable trust, which allows you to retain control of your assets and to revoke or revise the trust at any time.
Trusts are very flexible instruments, and we can help you create a trust that addresses your unique estate planning needs.
With the strengthening of financial and medical privacy laws, it is important to create one or more powers of attorney so that a trusted relative or friend can help you with your medical and financial decisions if you are unable to do so. We can prepare those documents for you in connection with your comprehensive estate plan.
A living will (sometimes also referred to as a Health Care Directive and Power of Attorney for Health Care) sets the parameters for medical intervention should you become incapacitated. We can help you communicate those instructions.
Dearing & Hartzog, L.C. serves clients in St. Louis and throughout Missouri. Call us at 314-863-2700 or contact us online.