To Do List to Keep Your Family Out of Missouri or Kansas Probate Court

Clients come into my office with an idea that they want to keep their family out of probate court. Unless they have a comprehensive estate plan they are likely to take acts that put their family in probate court. The joke at law school was when you go to court only the lawyers win.  This is true in part because law suits are hard on the people involved.  They take time and energy that might be better used on something productive. 

Below are a few steps to follow when you establish your comprehensive estate plan to reduce the probability that your heirs will be in court:

1.  Act while you are healthy.  Many people think that their will should be written when they know that their time is short. I have to tell you that asking an attorney to play beat the clock with death is not a good game.  People are feeling rushed and assets and people are often overlooked.  Missing an asset could mean that does not up where you want to go.  Don't wait until you think it's time to think about estate planning -- the time is now. 

2. Confirm capacity. Unhappy family members may dispute whether the decedent had adequate metal capacity to sign the documents. This is a very common issue. So you can avoid this type of lawsuit, if you have an examination by a physician just before initializing your estate plan.  The doctor's report may be enough to stop anyone from fighting your plan.

3. Get the family involved.  If your family is involved then it is less likely that they will fight it.  This is not always true. But it can help family members understand why the plan is drafted one way or another. Once family members understand what is going to happen it can reduce the shock and anger that they may feel.  

4. Get a Professional executor.  If you think your family is going to fight, then appointing a professional executor might reduce the conflicts. 

5. Disinherit clearly and concisely.  There is no need to explain the reason(s) that you are disinheriting someone you just need to be clear that it is your intention to do so. 

Call us today to schedule a time for a private conversation about your family wealth via a Life and Legacy Planning Session.


Susan Bratcher
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Owner and Attorney
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