If someone in your family has passed away there is always the legal issue of what to do with their property. All too often most folks do not think about what happens to them after their death. After all, they won’t be around to have to worry about it. Sometimes there is a will; most of the time there is not. 

What inevitably happens to the remaining family members often can be devastating if probate matters are not worked out ahead of time by making a will or trust and establishing a durable power of attorney with financial and medical directives on what to do in case you become incapacitated. As an attorney, I have seen firsthand the unnecessary stress and damage that occurs when there has been little or none estate planning. Families and family members that at one time got along are now forced to have to fight for their inheritance, leading to long lasting feuds.

​Trust me, you do not want this to happen to your loved ones. Give us a call at
314-400-4100 and let us talk to you about setting up an estate plan that works for your needs. Below is some basic information about dealing with probate, wills, trusts and durable powers of attorney.

Decedent’s Probate In this chapter you will find a description of probate procedures to transfer property when a person dies. “Probate” is a court-supervised process of transferring legal title from a person who has died (the “decedent”) to the person’s distributees. 

​Probate is necessary to protect the rights to the probate estate of a decedent’s heirs, devisees, and creditors. An orderly transfer of property is done after estate property and debts are administered. 

​What These Terms Mean

Claim – a debt or liability owed by the decedent at the time of death, the funeral expenses, and the costs and expenses of administering the probate estate. A “claimant” is a creditor who files a claim against a probate estate. 

​Devisee – a distributee that is named in a will to receive certain property. May be a person or an entity such as a charity. 

Distributee – person or entity to receive a distribution through probate. 

Heir – a distributee, as determined by the Missouri statute of intestate succession, to receive real or personal property of an intestate. 

Intestate – a decedent who has died without having made a will.


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