It is important to review your will – or draft a will for the first time if you do not have one – following any change to your family structure. For example, we encourage you to review your will and other estate documents when any of the following events occur in your life: marriage, birth of a child, dissolution of marriage, move to a new State. This is not an exhaustive list and there may be other times when you would need to review your wills and probate plan.
In Missouri, if the person who has died (the decedent) did not leave a will, it is known as “intestacy.” If the decedent left a will, it is known as “testate.” The process is similar in both instances, but if you fail to leave a will directing how you want your property distributed, the Court will make those decisions for you.
Probate provides for the orderly transfer of a decedent’s property to his or her heirs – whether through the rules of intestacy or pursuant to the directions in the will. Probate also functions to determine the legitimacy of claims against the estate and insures the payment of proper claims. Finally, the probate process operates to clear the title of the decedent’s property for the heirs.
Remember, not all assets are required to go through the probate process. For example, any property held by joint tenancy or tenancy by the entireties does not pass through probate. Life insurance proceeds payable directly to a named beneficiary, other than the executor for the estate, are not usually probated. Any assets that have a “transfer on death” designation on them will not usually be probated.
It is important if you have minor children that your will addresses who you would like to appoint as their guardian and conservator. If you fail to do this, the Court will choose for you and will likely require the conservator to post a bond.
To make an appointment, please call us at 816-256-5440.
We are available to help you with your family law or estate planning needs in the following Missouri counties: Platte, Clay, Jackson, Buchanan, Andrew, Clinton, DeKalb, Holt, Nodaway and Ray.
We are available to help you with your family law or estate planning needs in the following Kansas counties: Leavenworth, Wyandotte, and Johnson.
Kiske Law Office, LLC
10525 N. Ambassador Dr.
Kansas City, MO 64153
Kiske Law Office, LLC
1911 Jules St.
St. Joseph, MO 64501
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Office hours: Monday-Thursday 9 am – 5 pm and Friday 9 am – 3 pm
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