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St. Louis Real Estate And Estate Planning Blog

Common title defects to be aware of when purchasing a home

Buying a home is a very important time in many people's lives in Missouri. It is a major purchase and a lot of thought needs to go into the decision. People may look at many, many homes prior to deciding the best one to purchase. There are many different aspects that people are looking for within their budget and want to make sure they buy one that is the right fit for them. So, once they do find the home they want to buy they will go through the real estate negotiation process and hopefully reach an agreement to purchase the home.

However, after the purchase price is agreed to and the purchase agreement is signed, people still need to obtain title to the home before it becomes their home. In order to do this the people transferring the title are the only ones that can have an interest in it. If others have an interest in the title it is known as having a defect and that must be cured before it can be transferred. This can be very devastating for people who have just found the home they want to purchase.

Importance of updating estate plan after a divorce

There are many changes that people in Missouri need to work through after a divorce. Separating one shared life into two separate lives is not always an easy task. Homes are separated; time with children is separated; bank, retirement and investment accounts need to be separated and other aspects of their lives need to be separated as well. This is certainly not an easy task and can be very time consuming. However, people should also make another change that is not usually directly discussed during the divorce process and that is their estate plan.

Their estate plan can include different documents and in many situations most of them will need to changed. People may have a healthcare directive naming their spouse as the person who will make medical decisions. Often times they may name their spouse as their power of attorney. Also, usually in a will or trust, a spouse is named as the primary beneficiary and as the trustee. In addition to this most of the time a spouse is named as beneficiary for retirement accounts and life insurance policies.

Time limitations for creditors to file claim against an estate

During people's lives in Missouri they do many different things, work many different jobs, earn different amounts of money and incur different amounts debt. All of things are very relevant to the person while they are living, but they cannot take any of these things with them after they pass away. So, all of their property and debts must be dealt with by those who survive them. This is accomplished through the probate process when all assets are distributed and debts are paid.

At the beginning of the probate process, notice of letters testamentary must be published. This gives any beneficiaries and creditors notice that the estate is in the probate. This allows them to make any claims they have against the estate. However, the creditors do not have forever to make their claims. Creditors must file claims within six months of the when the notice of letters testamentary or within two months if the notice was directly served on the creditor by mail or other means.

Definitions of important estate planning terms

Estate planning can be a complex undertaking. Dealing with all your assets and family affairs may seem intimidating. Creating and managing an estate plan is especially difficult when there are so many terms that are hard to understand. 

Thankfully, some simple explanations can diffuse the confusion and help you understand the intricacies of an estate plan. Here is a brief glossary of important estate planning terms. 

Importance of co-tenancy provisions in commercial leases

There are many different businesses in Missouri that provide a number of different services and products. Some of them are small and some of them are very large. While some are able to operate out of their homes, most businesses have office space or rent spaces for retail. When these companies rent spaces they usually enter into commercial leases with the owner of the building. The provisions in these leases can vary greatly depending on the needs of the business, location and many other factors.

For instance when store owners rent retail space in a shopping mall, one provision that can be a major part of the lease negotiation is co-tenancy provisions. These provisions essentially state that the tenant may have different rent obligations depending on how full the mall is with tenants. Another aspect that is negotiated is that the tenant may want their rent obligation tied to whether certain key tenants are in the mall. Generally these are major retailers with anchor stores that bring shoppers to the mall.

How to distribute assets in a will

When it comes to writing an estate plan, you need to decide who your beneficiaries will be. For most people, this will be children, but you may also decide to leave money and items to nieces, nephews, cousins and close friends. 

Generally, it is easy to split financial assets. You can leave behind an equal amount of money to all your children to ensure there is no ill will. However, it can become difficult when you have to divide tangible assets. Get help crafting your estate plan in an equitable manner so no one feels left out. 

What powers are granted through a power of attorney?

Throughout people's lives in Missouri, there are many things they need to take care of for themselves. This includes daily tasks such as eating, going to work, paying bills, taking care of their children and other daily activities. People also from time to time have to attend to more important issues such as buying houses, opening investment accounts and other larger economic matters. Then once they do make those types of purchases and decisions they must ensure that they pay for the costs and manage them.

While it can become stressful at times to do all these things most people can take of all their responsibilities on their own. However, life is unpredictable and sometimes people are severely injured or develop a disease that makes it impossible to take care of their financial responsibilities. So, just like people plan for where their property will go after they pass through estate planning, people also can plan for situations when they are still alive, but incapacitated and unable to make decisions for themselves.

Different reasons that people challenge wills in probate

When people pass away in Missouri, they cannot take anything with them. Their property and assets will remain here and will need to be distributed. Therefore, there are laws in place that dictate where the property will go. The laws state that the property will go to various family members depending on their relationship to the deceased. However, people do not always have a good relationship with their family members or they believe certain family members need the property more than another.

That is why having a will is important. Wills are the deceased's statements and desires about where their property will go. The wills still need to go through probate, but generally courts will follow properly executed wills and direct that the property be distributed according to the will. The family members of the deceased may not be happy about the fact that they did not get what they thought they deserved or what they were going to get though. In certain situations these family members may be able to challenge the will.

A guide to creating your first estate plan

The prospect of creating your estate plan may be intimidating and even uncomfortable, but it is not as complex or morbid as you may assume. In fact, you will feel a sense of accomplishment and pride when you finish it. Still, it is normal and understandable to feel a little bit of apprehension.

Writing your first estate plan is a great step to protecting your property and providing peace of mind for yourself and the people you care about. Here are some suggestions for estate planning for the first time. 

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