Category: Estate Planning

When Should I Update My Estate Plan?

Creating an estate plan is one of the most important things you can do to protect and provide for your family in the future.  With a little bit of time and a skilled estate planning attorney, you can create a customized trust or will and estate plan that anticipates your unique needs and leverages the most advantageous use of your assets.

Whether it’s by providing for heirs, avoiding onerous taxes, overseeing property and real estate or creating charitable giving opportunities, an estate plan can lay out all of your current and future wishes in a neat and comprehensive document. To ensure the bes [...]

Can a Beneficiary Sue a Trustee?

Yes, a beneficiary can sue a trustee. But a beneficiary must prove that a trustee has breached their fiduciary duty. A beneficiary cannot mount a successful challenge simply because he/she has a personal grudge against the trustee or because he/she simply feels the trust is unfair as it was created by the trust owner.

To mount a legal challenge, a beneficiary must show that there was malfeasance, conflict of interest or incompetence on the part of the trustee.

There’s a lot to know about trusts and estate disputes, and challenging a trustee is rarely something you want to do on your own. With the help of

Do You Have to Do Probate When Someone Dies?

Losing a loved one or family member is a terrible time, filled with grief and loss. Not only are you hurting inside, but you also have to deal with funeral details and other legal matters. This is especially true if the person died without a valid will and their estate must go through probate.

If you’re wondering whether you have to do probate when someone dies, the answer is “sometimes.” In Missouri, if a person’s estate is very small, then the law will allow you to skip probate in favor of a simplified process. Otherwise, you’ll go through probate, though this is significantly easier and quicker when the deceased person has a valid will or estate plan with clear d [...]

What Happens if You Die without a Will in Missouri?

Creating an estate plan is often one of those things we put off, thinking we’ll get to it tomorrow, or next week, or before the end of the year.  But what happens if you die without a will in Missouri?  None of us wants to think about that, but we should.

Creating an estate plan now means that we are caring for our loved ones by preventing a lot of headaches for them in the future.  An estate plan offers peace of mind.  All too often, people put off writing a will and creating an estate plan until “later,” but later never comes.  Our experienced estate planning attorneys at Birk Law Firm will guide you through each step in the estate planning process.  We’ll help y [...]

Who’s On Your Estate Planning Team?

Estate planning is not just about what happens to your stuff when you die. It is about coordinating all aspects of your life so (i) you can be taken care of during times when you are unable to care for yourself, and (ii) your money and property are distributed to the individuals you have selected upon your death, in the way you want.

While you may visit an estate planning attorney to have your legal documents (i.e., will, revocable living trust, powers of attorney, and living will) prepared, this is only one component of making sure that your ultimate estate and financial goals are carried out. In order to accomplish this large and important task, you need a team made up of the [...]

Myths We Tell Ourselves About Estate Planning

Estate planning can be a very difficult process. While it’s not brain surgery, making the decision to move forward with the planning requires us to face the fact that we will not live forever. This thought can stop many people right in their tracks. Others talk themselves out of seeing a qualified attorney to put together an estate plan based on some of the following common myths:

Myth #1: Only the Rich Need Estate Planning

When we hear about estate planning on the news or read about it on the internet, it is usually in regards to a wealthy businessman or celebrity who made some error, did no planning, or has family members who are angry about the pl [...]

The Role of an Agent Under a Power of Attorney

For most people, the phrase “power of attorney” means very little. Even for those educated on the subject, it is easy to forget exactly who serves what role and why. Whether you are unfamiliar with the concept or simply need of a refresher, keep reading to learn what it means to be an agent under a power of attorney. At Birk Law Firm, we regularly draft powers of attorney as part of an estate planning package of documents.  Also, we will draft only a power of attorney if that is all that you are needing at that time.

To start, it helps to understand what is being asked of an agent under a power of attorney. A person appointed to the role becomes a re [...]

Three Estate Planning Mistakes Farmers and Ranchers Make and How to Avoid Them

Farming or ranching is more than a means of livelihood – it is about preserving a legacy and unique way of life.  Unfortunately, many farmers and ranchers fail to make an estate plan.  The farm or ranch that has been passed down for generations then ends up being sold and converted into non-agricultural use, cutting the legacy short and ending the family’s unique lifestyle choice.

Sadly, farmers and ranchers are not the only ones who avoid making or updating an estate plan – many others, including business owners and parents, also avoid planning, which can cut their legacy short.  Below are three common estate planning mistakes farmers and ranchers make and how to avoid [...]

What Is a Discretionary Trust?

Sometimes giving assets outright to a beneficiary – such a child, a grandchild or a special needs loved one – is not the ideal method of distributing assets in an estate plan. In such a scenario, a discretionary trust can be a good estate planning tool. Below is some basic information on discretionary trusts and how they may be beneficial to your particular family’s needs.  At Birk Law Firm, we draft all types of trusts, including Discretionary Trusts, depending on each client’s particular situation.

Discretionary Trusts Explained

 A discretionary trust is a type of trust that is set up f [...]

It’s Planning Season

Just as there is a planting season on the farm, for each season there is planning that you must do with your business or on the farm. In order to be successful, this planning must be done thoughtfully and in advance. Your life is no different. To properly plan for the next season in your life and the lives of your family, a well-executed estate plan is a must. Below are a few documents to consider when crafting a plan to protect yourself, your family, your business or farm, and your legacy.

Birk Law Firm is experienced with supporting farmers, ranchers, and other business owners in achieving their estate planning goals.  Call Birk Law Firm if you have [...]