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St. Louis Real Estate And Estate Planning Blog

Who needs an estate plan? The answer, everyone.

After the death of a celebrity or wealthy public figure. it is not uncommon for Missouri residents to hear about the details of their end of life estates. They may discover that the decedents elected to give their money to charity, or in the case of recording artist, Prince, that there was no estate plan in place whatsoever. An estate is what a person has at the end of their life and an estate plan is the directional documents that instruct others on how the decedent wanted their assets divided up.

One of the most foundational elements of an estate plan is a will. Through a will a person can bequeath assets, money and other property to individuals that they have named and identified. They may also leave instructions for how their children will be cared for if they have minor children at the times of their death and can leave other specific instructions for how particular property should be treated.

Small estates have shortened probate procedures in Ohio

Probate is usually necessary if a person has died and left property in his or her name or if the deceased person held rights to receive property. However, in Ohio, small estates may qualify for a simplified probate process or may completely bypass probate procedures altogether, whether the deceased person has a will or not.

The difference between these two types of small estate probate qualifications is the value of the property. If applicable, the following small estate procedures may be more quickly and inexpensively managed than traditional probate proceedings.

Important consideration for people preparing to sell their homes

Making the decision to sell one's home and to move to a new residence or community can be a huge step for a St. Louis family. As such those who are making preparations to undertake this feat should proactively seek out certain information so that they can make knowledgeable and informed decisions about the important task of selling their home. This post is focused on considerations individuals should make before selling their homes through their local real estate markets but as with all legal matters consultation with real estate attorneys is the best way for readers to get case-specific support.

First, before selling a home an individual may want to consider if their home will be going on the market at a good time of year. Summer and spring are often good times to sell houses as families with children often want to settle into their new residences before sending their kids back to school. How the time of year affects home sales is a good matter to discuss with a local real estate attorney.

Why should a health care directive be part of an estate plan?

Suffering an accident and not being able to care for one's self may be a nightmare for St. Louis residents who enjoy the autonomy of living on their own and making their own decisions. However, when incapacitating and life-threatening illnesses and injuries occur, individuals may not be able to communicate their healthcare wishes to the doctors and providers who are tasked with treating them. The inability of a person to direct their own medical decision may cause them to undergo treatments or procedures that they would not otherwise have consented to.

To avoid this difficult situation some Missouri residents elect to draft and execute health care directives. Also called health care proxies, advance directives and other terms, health care directives name other individuals as the responsible decision-making parties when the directives' creators become incapacitated. For example, a wife may name her husband as the decision-making party when it comes to her medical care in the event that she cannot make decisions for herself.

Probate's a headache. How can it be avoided?

If you are reading this, you are seeking answers to questions that too often go unasked. One of the reasons most people don't even think to inquire about estate planning is because they are so busy living their lives they don't think they have an estate to plan for. That's usually not true, which is why it's good to start asking the questions now.

One of the main reasons that anyone should plan their estate is to see that whatever assets might exist get handed on to surviving loved ones in the most expeditious ways. In one of our previous posts, we examined reasons why it's a good to avoid probate. The biggest among these is that, lacking necessary planning documents, the process of probating an estate can get complicated, time consuming, and costly. In this post, we talk about some of the tools that can minimize the need for probate in Missouri.

What to plan before you turn 30

There is a false perception that estate planning is only for old or rich people. However, everyone needs to consider how their assets will be distributed in the future. Taking time in your 20s or early 30s to plan can save you time and effort later on.

You don’t have to plan everything right now. You should consider the basics first and move on to more complex estate-planning as you get older. It is vital to plan now in case of an emergency or unexpected tragedy.

Complications with closing: How to deal with closing day surprises

It’s happened to more than a few people. Everything seems like it’s finally settled, and you’re all eagerly awaiting the closing to finalize the sale. The seller and buyer are both looking forward to a new chapter. But then something comes up when it’s time to close.

With any number of things that could go wrong, how can you prepare for closing day surprises? 

Consumer home-buying power remains high

Missouri residents may not have forgotten the sting of the Great Recession which makes it understandable that they keep a close eye on the current and future economic outlook, especially when it comes to buying and selling homes. Mortgage News Daily recently announced that the government hiked the interest rate to its highest level in a month. Some people might be concerned that this could negatively impact their ability to sell or buy a home

Certainly home buyers always want to secure the lowest possible interest rate for their mortgages as that can save them a great amount of money over the course of many months and years. However, this emphasis on a low interest rate is not the only thing to evaluate when tracking the strength of the housing market.

When to hire a lawyer for a real estate matter

Many people buy and sell homes everyday without an attorney, but there are times when having a lawyer in a real estate transaction is important. Getting a real estate attorney on board early in a property transaction can prevent many potential legal headaches.

Whether you are just entering into a real estate transaction or you are trying to solve problems related to a previous transaction, a qualified real estate attorney can assist you. Here are a few cases in which you may find it useful to consult with this type of lawyer.

Reasons to avoid probate

Discussing any stage of estate plans can prove difficult for many families. No matter the point of life at which the planning began, family members can often walk away with more questions than answers. Some Missouri residents grappling with this process may be wondering what specific boxes need checking. Others may be wary of the detailed steps involved. The following pointers provide residents with general information on estate planning, as well as how to avoid potential speed bumps along the way. 

NerdWallet dives into the topic of estate planning, and more specifically, probate. In general, most would prefer to avoid probate in any way possible; NerdWallet explains that most individuals attempt to preserve assets for future family members. Because probate usually occurs when a person dies intestate, the procedure of validating a will may involve an estate executor or attorney. Depending on a person's estate, the process of probate can become time-consuming.

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