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Will Attorneys in St. Louis, Missouri

Drafting a will is likely not the first thing on your mind on any given day, but maybe it should be. Too few Americans have a will or any kind of estate plan in place, citing excuses like they’re too young or have too few assets, but the truth is, everyone should have a will.  

It also appears that recent global events have spurred more people to get serious about their estate planning. According to a 2022 study done by, those who experienced a serious case of COVID-19 are 66% more likely to now have a will in place. But you don’t need to wait for a health scare to prompt you into action; you can start today by working with an experienced estate planning attorney. If you’re in St. Louis, Missouri, in the surrounding areas, or in neighboring Chesterfield, call us today at TdD Attorneys at Law, and learn about your options. 

Overview of Wills  

A will is a legally binding document that lays out what you want to be done with your assets after you pass away. In addition to naming beneficiaries, a will also allows you to name an executor who will be responsible for administering your will through the legal process of probate, as well as name a legal guardian for any minor children or even pets.  

Most people have more assets than they realize. Some examples of assets include, but are not limited to, the following: 

  • Real estate holdings 

  • Vehicles 

  • Furniture 

  • Firearms 

  • Jewelry 

  • family heirlooms 

  • Pensions 

  • investments and bonds 

  • bank accounts 

  • Insurance policies 

These and other commonly inherited assets can be listed in your will, along with the name of whom you want them to go to. You can also choose to leave certain assets to a charitable foundation of your choosing as a way to extend your legacy.  

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Types of Wills 

There are also a few different types of wills that you should be familiar with when you’re just getting started.  

The most popular is called a simple will which most people use. This is the most common and straightforward option and lets you list assets and beneficiaries, legal guardians, and an executor. There’s also the option of writing a joint will along with your spouse, but these are used less and less frequently. Most attorneys nowadays will recommend that each spouse drafts their own will.  

You also may have use for a pour-over will that’s used in conjunction with a trust and allows you to catch any assets that weren’t named in the trust to guarantee they’re distributed to the right heirs.  

Lastly, you may also encounter a holographic will (also called a handwritten will). While these are less common, they are generally accepted by the courts. Still, it’s almost always preferable to compose your will digitally. Holographic wills are more prone to errors or being contested in court. 

Why Having a Will Is Important 

Of all the benefits of having a will in place, perhaps the most important is that it shows you’re looking out for your family and loved ones. A will shows that you are doing your best to provide for them and give them peace of mind after you pass away. Also, a will allows you to have the say in what happens after you pass. For example, if you have minor children, you’ll pass with peace of mind that they will be taken care of by the person you want them to. 

If you die without a will in place (called dying intestate), it will be up to the court and your heirs to decide what should happen with all your belongings and assets. You’ll have no say in the matter. In these cases, a judge will assign someone to be the administrator of your estate, and this is typically a surviving spouse or another close family member. That person will then be responsible for taking your estate, where all your assets and debts must be accounted for, paid off, and then distributed among your heirs.  

This can be a very time-consuming process, but you can alleviate some of this stress by outlining your wishes in a will.  

Difference Between a Will and a Trust  

As an alternative to a will, some people may choose to put their assets into a trust instead. A trust works much like a will in that you assign certain assets to beneficiaries, but they differ in a couple of key ways. 

With a trust, you transfer your assets over to a trustee who then becomes the legal owner of them. You still retain control over these assets and can add and remove assets or change beneficiaries while you’re still alive. Then, when you pass away, your trustee can transfer the assets to your beneficiaries immediately.  

This is the primary advantage of a trust because you get to bypass the probate process completely and save your family the hassle and expense of working with the courts. However, before making a choice between the two, make sure to understand all the advantages and disadvantages of both. For example, a trust doesn’t protect your assets and finances from creditors. Make sure to get the support of an estate planning attorney before making the final decision.  

Will Attorneys in St. Louis, Missouri

If you’d like to learn more about the process for drafting a will and are in the St. Louis, Missouri area, reach out to us at TdD Attorneys at Law to schedule a consultation. We are prepared to help guide you to a solid plan for your future.