101 South Hanley, Suite 1280 Clayton, MO 63105
314.283.8930; henry@elsterlaw.com

Wills Do Not Avoid Probate

One of the more common misconceptions people have regarding the probate process is that if you have a will probate is unnecessary; somehow, per this common belief, the surviving heirs will locate the will and be obligated to follow the directives articulated therein without court intervention. Nothing could be further than the truth. Missouri Revised […]

Read More

Probate Missouri Personal Representative (Executor, Administrator)

Under Missouri Law, the Personal Representative is the individual appointed to administer and wind-up a decedent’s estate. This is essentially the same thing as an “administrator” or “executor” in other states. A court’s issuance of either Letters Testamentary or Letters of Administration will allow a personal representative to take charge of an estate. Before making […]

Read More

Wills in a Safe Deposit Box

It is often the case that individuals will spends loads of time, money, and effort pouring over the details of their estate documents and then place them (often at the instruction of their attorney) in a safe deposit box at a bank. Cautious individuals will even go so far as to inform their heirs/children that […]

Read More

Missouri Small Estate Administration — Probate

There are in fact instances when probate is not a complete pain. Under Missouri law, if a decedent’s estate is worth (1) less than forty-thousand dollars ($40,000), (2) formal Letters Testamentary or Letters of Administration (or other Letters) are pending or are refused, (3) the personal representative submits an affidavit taking on personal responsibility for […]

Read More

Partial Probate Distributions

Title to a decedent’s property transfers immediately to the heirs upon death — subject to the administration of the decedent’s estate. The personal representative, by the grant of letters testamentary or letters of administration, is authorized to take possession and control of all property owned by the decedent and distribute it accordingly. The #1 question […]

Read More

Refusal of Letters — When Probate is Not Required

A Probate Court is not obligated to grant a petition for Letters Testamentary or Letters of Administration (see my post on Letters Testamentary and Letters of Administration for the distinction). Pursuant to 473.090 RSMo the Probate Court may refuse the grant of letters on a number of grounds. The insufficient estate value basis is one […]

Read More

Probate: Removal of a Personal Representative

I’ve written about the Fiduciary Duties of a Trustee. Those duties apply in the contexts of trust administration. In the case of estate administration in probate, a personal representative of a decedent’s estate has several obligations. Among the most important of these responsibilities is the duty to administer the estate efficiently and expeditiously, meeting several […]

Read More

Debts at Probate

In a probate proceeding in Missouri, one of the chief responsibilities of a personal representative is to handle the debts of the decedent. Generally, in order of priority, the expenses of the decedent’s last illness and funeral, any other debts to creditors, and tax elections (estate taxes, generation-skipping tax, and all other transfer taxes — […]

Read More

Missouri Probate: Costs and Process

Probate gets a bad rap. Most of the disgust with the Probate system in Missouri stems from the fact that those involved in probate are rarely involved with the legal system and don’t know what to expect. Moreover, it is often the case that a loved one has passed away, so emotions are obviously in […]

Read More

Letters Testamentary and Letters of Administration

A deceased individual is referred to as a “decedent” in the eyes of the law. In Missouri, the administration of a decedent’s estate takes place (1) in the county of the decedent’s domicile (basically, his or her home), (2) if the decedent did not have a domicile, then any county where he or she owned […]

Read More