Frequently Asked Questions
You probably have many estate planning questions — below are just a few of the questions we are regularly asked. If you’d like an estate planning attorney at TuckerAllen to answer any of your specific questions,
schedule an initial consultation today.
Does my spouse need to come with me?
It’s not necessary, but it’s usually very helpful. Often spouses have similar desires about how to provide for each other and their family. If, however, you and your spouse have different goals, that’s okay too. The important thing to remember is that each person whose estate plan we are drafting must meet with us.
What do I have to bring to the initial consultation?
Just bring yourself. Our knowledgeable estate planning attorneys will walk you through our straightforward process and ask you questions. While we don’t need any bank statements, deeds, or other such paperwork, it can be helpful if you have thought a bit about:
• Who you would like to inherit your assets and belongings.
• If you have minor children, who you would like to raise them — their guardians.
• What kinds of property you own.
• Who you want to be in charge of carrying out your wishes — your executor.
Who will I meet with?
You’ll meet with one of our seasoned estate planning attorneys at the location you choose.
Where are your offices located?
Our greater St. Louis area estate planning attorneys are ready to help you with your estate plan in one of our many locations: Kirkwood, MO; O’Fallon, MO; South St. Louis, MO; Town & Country, MO; Edwardsville, IL; and Fairview Heights, IL.
Each TuckerAllen estate planning office serves several neighboring areas:
Our team of estate planners in the Kirkwood, MO office serves St. Louis county, including: Brentwood, Clayton, Crestwood, Des Peres, Frontenac, Glendale, Kirkwood, Ladue, Olivette, Overland, Rock Hill, Sunset Hills, University City, Warson Woods, and Webster Groves.
Our team of estate planners in the O’Fallon, MO office serves all of St. Charles and the surrounding areas, including: Cottleville, Dardenne Prairie, Lake St. Louis, Maryland Heights, O’Fallon, St. Charles, St. Charles County, St. Peters, Weldon Spring, and Wentzville.
Our team of estate planners in the South St. Louis, MO office serves all of South St. Louis, including: Affton, Arnold, Concord, Crestwood, Fenton, Mehlville, Oakville, St. Louis City, Sunset Hills, and Webster Groves.
Our team of estate planners in the Town and Country, MO office serves all of West County and nearby areas, including: Ballwin, Bridgeton, Chesterfield, Clarkson Valley, Creve Coeur, Ellisville, Eureka, Frontenac, Ladue, Manchester, Murphy, Town and Country, Valley Park, and Wildwood.
Our team of estate planners in the Edwardsville, IL office serves all of Edwardsville and the surrounding areas, including: Alton, Collinsville, Granite City, Highland, and Troy.
Our team of estate planners in the Fairview Heights, IL office serves all of Fairview Heights and the surrounding areas, including: Belleville, Cahokia, Glen Carbon, O’Fallon, Shiloh, and Swansea.
Visit our locations page to learn more.
Wills & Trusts FAQs
How much does a will or trust cost?
Your initial consultation is free. We charge a fixed, affordable, published fee with no up-charges and no surprises. Our fees are:
• Individuals: $650
• Couples: $950
• Individuals: $1,350
• Couples: $1,750
For other estate planning and elder law services, view our complete pricing list.
Can't I just write my own do-it-yourself will or trust?
Do-it-yourself estate planning documents are better than nothing, but they are often more costly, time consuming, and confusing than you might expect. Read our blog post about the pros and cons of doing it yourself: Estate Planning: Should you really DIY?
How much time does TuckerAllen’s estate planning process take?
Our entire process – start to finish – typically takes about two weeks and includes two meetings.
- Visit us for an initial consultation – Come into one of our convenient offices for a cup of coffee and a friendly chat that usually takes about an hour. We’ll ask a few questions, such as: Do you have children? What are their ages? Do you own a home? Do you have investments? What are your wishes? We’ll cover most of the information we would need to draft your will or trust, should you decide to move forward. But what we do best is listen. We’ll answer all of your questions, we’ll explain how we can help, and only then will we offer advice. Scheduling a consultation couldn’t be easier – there’s no preparation necessary and no paperwork to bring.
- We’ll draft your documents for your review – If you decide to move forward, we’ll draft a personalized estate plan that meets your needs and reflects your wishes. Next, we’ll give you access to your own password-protected portal on our TuckerAllen website so you can access your drafts. With this secure access, you’ll be able to review the draft documents at your convenience and provide any feedback before we finalize the documents. You can give us feedback right there in your “virtual vault” on our website, or you can always just give us a call.
- We’ll meet so you can sign and receive your final documents – When you’re happy with the drafts, you simply come in, sign them, and leave with copies of your new estate plan in hand. For added peace of mind, copies of your final signed estate plan will remain in your secure personal portal on our website.
- Funding your trust – If you opted for a will, your estate plan is complete the moment it’s signed. If you chose the Revocable Trust Package, only one additional step will be necessary; it’s called “funding your trust.” This simply means making sure that all of your eligible assets (your car, bank account, life insurance, investments, etc.) are correctly titled in the name of your trust so that, later on, they will transfer directly to your beneficiaries according to your wishes. We’ll explain all of this to you and provide clear, written funding instructions at our signing meeting. And, of course, you can always give us a call if you have questions.
Can I change my estate plan after it’s signed?
Yes, you can change your estate plan any time you wish.
How frequently should I update my will or trust?
Anytime your family or financial situation changes, it’s a good idea to meet with your TuckerAllen estate planning attorney to make sure your estate plan still meets your needs. Because laws may change, it’s a good idea to review your documents every five years or so to be confident that your plan still accomplishes your wishes.
Elder Law FAQs
What's the difference between a guardian and a conservator?
When a minor or adult has been legally determined to be incapacitated or disabled, the court appoints a guardian (responsible for care and custody) and a conservator (responsible for managing property – could be a person or a corporation, such as a bank or trust company). Often the same individual is appointed for both roles. TuckerAllen can arrange for a capacity assessment of the disabled individual and help you petition the court to be appointed as guardian and/or conservator. The costs for these services are determined on a case-by-case basis at the initial consultation and are then quoted as fixed fees.
What's the difference between a conservator and a pooled trust administrator?
Both can manage the assets from a special needs trust. A pooled trust administrator is a non-profit entity that manages the assets of a trust with an eye toward preserving the disabled individual’s eligibility for government benefits. A conservator is appointed by the court to manage funds in a trust, but is not bound by the need to preserve eligibility for government benefits.
Special Needs Planning FAQs
What is a First-Party Special Needs Trust?
“First party” refers to the actual individual (under the age of 65) who has special needs. That means a First-Party Trust would be created with money or property that the disabled individual either owned before becoming disabled (e.g., an inheritance) or assets that the individual acquired after the onset of the disability (e.g., proceeds from a lawsuit related to the cause of the disability).