WHEN IT COMES TO YOUR ESTATE, A SOLID PLAN IS IMPERATIVE
Our Estate Planning Lawyer Can Help Prevent Problems
Sometimes the biggest gift you can give your loved ones after you pass away is an orderly, deeply thought-out estate plan that distributes assets with little confusion or worry. In this way, a comprehensive plan can eliminate confusion and misunderstandings. It can also eliminate the need for your family to go through the slow and expensive probate process.
That’s why it’s imperative to have a solid estate plan that sets out exactly how you want your estate handled. Big or small, simple or complex and high net worth — you want peace of mind knowing that someone will follow your directions and administer your exact wishes. Your estate could be $1,000 or millions of dollars. Regardless of the size, a Birk Law Firm estate planning attorney in Cape Girardeau will create a customized plan for you, including ancillary documents like powers of attorney.
Our skilled and experienced Birk Law Firm estate planning attorney in Cape Girardeau provides a free initial consultation to answer your questions and listen to your wishes. Take care of this vital task now while you are able to, so that your family and loved ones are protected. Call to get started at 573-332-8585.
Our Estate Planning Attorney Works for You
Why Choose Us
There are many attorneys in Missouri, and it’s important for you to find one you have confidence in, feel comfortable with, and who has the qualifications to get the results you need. Here are some reasons why we think Birk Law is your best choice:
- We are highly qualified. Attorney Kelvin Birk is a Certified Public Accountant as well as a lawyer, with more than 30 years of experience in accounting and tax and business consulting, and more than 20 years of experience in numerous legal matters. This combined expertise allows the Birk Law Firm to provide a level of service above that of other firms. Whatever your legal situation, your attorney at Birk Law Firm can counsel you as to the tax implications. We have experience in providing myriad legal services to residents of southeast Missouri and other areas.
- We provide personal service. Birk Law is a small firm by choice that is big on client services and responsive to their clients’ needs. When we sign on as your law firm, you can count on us for guidance and advice. We believe that each client’s matter is the most important matter in the world to them, and we strive to treat it that way. We listen closely to what you have to say in order to create a unique and customized estate plan tailored to your family and assets.
- We are local. Kelvin Birk has lived in Missouri most of his life and raised a family here, so he understands the needs of the local population.
- We have a long history of helping Missouri families, and you can read their testimonials.
- We offer free consultations to discuss your estate planning situation and show you how we can help.
Our estate planning attorney in Cape Girardeau has years of experience and the sharp legal mind to help you optimize opportunities to reduce capital gains taxes as well as inheritance taxes. After all, you want most of your assets to pass on to family members rather than being diverted by federal and state taxes.
Count on Kelvin Birk and his team to help you accomplish this. As an attorney, CPA and businessman who grew up on a farm, Kelvin Birk provides multidimensional professional services all in one law firm. Call today at 573-332-8585.
How Our Estate Planning Attorney in Cape Girardeau Helps You
Every person who works at Birk Law — lawyers and support staff — is fully committed to helping our clients. When you have our team on your side, we will meet with you to discuss your individual estate planning situation and analyze your finances, family, and tax needs to determine what are the best solutions for you.
Our estate planning attorney has created a wide range of estate plans, including business and farm succession plans, for hundreds of satisfied clients, and we can help you, too. Here are some of the things our Cape Girardeau estate planning lawyer can do for you:
1.) Minimize Tax Liability
Anything involving tax laws needs to be flexible and is subject to change. A well-drafted estate plan or trust can often withstand the test of time and never need to be amended. However, since 2017, we have drafted a lot of trusts differently than in prior years due to the estate tax law changes that affected the majority of people. With the greatly expanded estate tax exemptions, an estate planning attorney in Cape Girardeau can now focus more on minimizing capital gains taxes for beneficiaries rather than only minimizing estate taxes for our clients. In most cases, we can eliminate estate taxes altogether and reduce capital gains taxes significantly or completely.
We help with trusts, wills, powers of attorney, health care powers of attorney, medical directives (living wills) and everything involved in estate planning. Depending on your needs, packages are available for a flat fee.
If you’d like to talk more about your specific needs, please call a Birk Law Firm estate planning attorney in Cape Girardeau to get the process started. We offer a free initial consultation and would be glad to answer your questions.
2.) Draft Vital Documents
Depending on the complexity of your estate, an estate planning attorney in Cape Girardeau can draft the most common documents as well as more intricate, highly customized documents, including:
A will is a very basic document that every person should have. You do not have to be rich or even have a spouse and children to benefit from a will. A will simply sets down in writing how you’d like your assets to be distributed after death, whether it be the house you live in, your grandmother’s furniture, or future care for your pets. You can also leave any detailed information about the location of keys, post office boxes, life insurance policies, and checking/savings accounts as a companion document with your will. Keeping all of this information in one place is a good idea, and our estate planning attorney can make sure everything is done properly.
When it comes to estate planning, everyone should have a will, and many people also should have a trust. A trust is a legal tool that greatly expands your options and enables you to manage your assets in multiple ways. It enables you to shield your wealth from taxes and pass it on to future generations.
A trust is a way to provide for your children’s future and to pass assets to your heirs so they do not have to go through the expense, time, and hassle of the probate process. In addition to avoiding probate, trusts are an efficient way of providing support for a special needs child, minimizing taxes, or protecting assets from creditors.
When you set up a trust, you are called the trustor. You designate a person, called a trustee, to hold property for another person, called a beneficiary. This does not mean you lose control of your property. If you are setting up a living trust, you can make yourself the trustee and keep full control over all property held in the trust while you are alive. You also designate a successor trustee, often a spouse or a child, to handle your property and distribute it after you die.
Just as there are all kinds of people and estates, there are all kinds of trusts, including:
- Revocable trusts (living trusts)
- Long-term GST (dynasty) trusts
- Irrevocable trusts, including irrevocable life insurance trusts
- Medicaid Asset Protection Trusts (MAPT)
- Income Only Trusts
- 2503(c) trusts for minors
- Charitable lead trusts
- Charitable remainder trusts
- Grantor retained trusts
- Intentionally defective grantor trusts
- IRA management (conduit) trusts
- Special-needs trusts
- Qualified personal residence trusts
Birk Law Firm is also qualified to assist you with asset protection planning involving structuring different types of foreign and domestic trusts that can protect your wealth from a wide variety of other parties.
Powers of Attorney
Powers of attorney designate the person(s) you’d like to make decisions about your finances and other legal matters in the event that you become incapacitated because of illness or other unforeseen circumstances. You can make this power as broad or as narrow as you like. For example, a durable power of attorney for finances designates the person you want to take care of your finances if you become incapacitated and are unable to make financial decisions.
Healthcare Powers of Attorney
This document identifies the person you have chosen to make healthcare decisions in the event that you become incapacitated or cannot speak to make decisions yourself because of a reason such as being sedated or in a coma. It can also designate the person who makes decisions about your care if you have memory loss or Alzheimer’s disease later in life and are incapable of making your own decisions about your care. This may be used in conjunction with a living will.
Medical Directives (Living Wills)
This document often accompanies a Healthcare Power of Attorney by stipulating the medical decisions you’ve made prior to being incapacitated, spelling out your end-of-life wishes. Examples include whether you want your life prolonged artificially, DNR (do not resuscitate) or other directions about your healthcare. By pre-planning this, it takes some pressure off family members when difficult decisions must be made about your care. It can also give you a sense of control when you know you’ve made these decisions in advance.
At Birk Law, we can ensure that all your documents are drafted correctly. Call us today to get started and have the peace of mind of knowing that these burdens are lifted from your family.
3.) Help with Probate
Probate is a court-supervised legal process that may be required after someone dies, and Missouri probate law () governs what happens with the deceased person’s property.
While we usually advise clients to avoid probate because of the expense and public nature of the process, sometimes probate is the best option because a person didn’t have the opportunity to create an estate plan before they passed away. An experienced estate planning attorney in Cape Girardeau can help you through the probate process. Birk Law Firm has handled numerous probate cases in several counties in Missouri. Often, we can handle a probate case on the other side of the state without actually going to court. We recently handled a case for a client in Cape Girardeau whose father lived close to Kansas City. We were able to administer this case and close it without us or the client traveling to Kansas City.
4.) Help with Will and Trust Disputes / Will and Trust Contests
When you find you don’t agree with how a personal representative or trustee is handling a last will and testament or a trust, you can dispute it. We have experience representing clients in will and trust contests. A will or trust contest can end up in court, and we have the courtroom and trial experience to see your case through to a successful resolution. While disputes and contests can be unpleasant, a skilled estate planning attorney in Cape Girardeau can make sure the process is handled professionally. At Birk Law Firm, we work hard to successfully serve our clients, even when they are walking through unfortunate and contentious circumstances. We view our role as both representing our clients effectively and shielding them from unnecessary unpleasantness.
Sometimes it is better to hire a legal professional than it is to try to navigate a dispute or contest on your own. Rather than letting tempers flare and arguments arise among family members and business associates, we recommend hiring an experienced estate planning attorney in Cape Girardeau to help.
Get Help From Our Estate Planning Attorney
We Provide Peace of Mind
An intangible but highly important benefit that an estate planning attorney in Cape Girardeau can provide is peace of mind. Yes, you need all the legal and financial guidance necessary to navigate complicated and ever-changing tax laws as well as end-of-life decisions. But just as importantly, your family will be able to lean on, and rely on, an estate planning attorney in Cape Girardeau to lift a burden off their shoulders and allow your family to grieve. When you pass away, your family will have huge feelings of loss and disorientation, and it’s a gift to them if they don’t have to worry about legal matters.
An estate planning attorney at Birk Law Office shows the compassion and care that every client deserves during a time of incapacitation and loss. We always remember that we’re dealing with human beings, not just the legal system. Call today at 573-332-8585.
“Kelvin Birk was referred to me by a cousin in MN after I had been working unsuccessfully with another attorney in MO for two years on a complex estate settlement. Even though I live 700+ miles from MO, Kelvin worked with me as if I were right next door. His communications were always prompt and clear. He never missed a deadline and was proactive in getting things done to save me and the beneficiaries of the estate time and money. His advice on liquidating some of the assets to pay expenses was carefully and skillfully analyzed and proved to be the best choice out of several alternatives. Although we have never met in person, I would like to shake his hand and give him a ‘pat on the back’ for a job well-done. This five star review is unquestionably deserved. Thank-you Kelvin.”- Ch W D (Google Review)
ALL YOUR LEGAL NEEDS
Why Choose Birk Law?
Birk Law Firm is a small firm by choice that is big on client services. Attorney Kelvin Birk and his team are responsive to their clients’ needs. When we sign on as your law firm, you can count on us for strong legal counsel, from negotiations to settlement to trial.
Our clients benefit from the intertwining of Kelvin Birk’s legal and CPA background and experience. We provide well-rounded advice to solve both legal and financial issues and to come up with creative solutions. We use modern technology to deliver legal services in a more efficient and client-focused manner than was previously possible.
We provide personalized and compassionate service. We believe that each client’s matter is the most important matter in the world to them, and we strive to treat it that way.