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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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Letters of Administration with Will Annexed

Letters testamentary are issued by the probate court to a person appointed to be personal representative of an estate under a will. Letters of administration are issued when there is no will (when the person died intestate). There is a statutory scheme that gives priority as to who to grant letters of administration to (e.g., […]

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Nonprobate Transfers in Missouri

Not all property owned by a decedent at death is subject to Missouri’s probate laws. The Nonprobate Transfers Law of Missouri liberally grants individuals the ability to transfer property from one generation to the next without the interference of the probate court. The key question is: when is a transfer classified as a nonprobate transfer […]

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Establishing a Lost or Destroyed Will in Probate

Ordinarily, a presumption of revocation arises when a testator had possession of a will and that, after the testator’s death, the will could not be found after a diligent search. This presumption, however, is rebuttable. If the heirs or beneficiaries of the will can prove that the missing will was properly executed, its contents, its […]

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Wills, Trusts: Omitted Spouse, Child(ren)

Missouri probate law is old-fashioned in many ways. A great example of this is the omitted child(ren) and omitted spouse rule codified in RSMo, 474.235-240. The ideological underpinning of the laws are that families are inherently close and tight-knit. It would be inconceivable, then, that a family member — particularly a parent — would disinherit […]

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Probate: Small Estate Administration Exception

Under Missouri law, if a decedent’s estate is small enough — that is, under a certain dollar value — it does not always require the grant of Letters of Administration or Letters Testamentary along with a formal court order of Supervised/Unsupervised estate administration. RSMo 473.097 was created by the Missouri Legislature so that heirs of […]

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