Probate is the administrative process where an executor (referred to in Missouri as a “Personal Representative”) works with the court to handle the debts and distribute the assets in a loved one’s estate.
Unfortunately, probate is a bureaucratic and time-consuming process during an emotionally-charged time in our clients’ lives. TuckerAllen will work with you to make this process as fast and easy as possible, so that you can focus on the things that truly matter.
Who acts as Personal Representative?
- If there is a Will, it should nominate someone to act as Personal Representative.
- If there is no Will, or the Personal Representatives nominated in the Will are deceased or refuse to serve, virtually anyone over 18 can nominate themselves to act as Personal Representative so long as no one else protests.
How do I know if I need to go through probate?
- This depends upon how your loved one’s assets were held and what type of assets they were (car, bank account, retirement account). We recommend setting up an appointment with one of our attorneys to review the assets and determine if a probate case needs to be opened, and if so, what type.
What am I getting myself into?
- Probate is a lengthy process, with lots of old rules and obscure terms, and lots of red tape. It is so complicated Missouri law almost always requires a personal representative to hire an attorney.
- The personal representative must gather information on the assets and debts of the deceased and personal information about their loved ones, oversee the payment of debts and taxes, sell property, distribute money and personal property to the beneficiaries, and make frequent reports to the court.
- Depending upon the situation, you may or may not be required to post a bond (i.e. insurance that you won’t steal from the estate), report to the court for permission for every action that you take, and report every dollar that comes in and out of the estate.
How Long does Probate Last?
- This depends upon the type of probate case opened, the number and type of assets, and how cooperative the beneficiaries are.
- It could take between 2 months and one year to administer a probate estate, assuming that there are no problems.
How Much Does It Cost?
- For small estates we charge a flat rate fee of $2,000.
- For petitions for determination of heirship, we charge a flat rate fee of $3,000.
- For full probate estates, Missouri law has a set fee schedule for personal representatives and attorneys in certain types of probate cases which changes based upon the size of the estate’s assets. A personal representative may (but is not required) to waive his or her fee, which is common if it is a relative. This fee could be increased if there are special circumstances, such as extensive assets or litigation.
Why should I choose TuckerAllen?
- We specialize in probate. This means we can make your experience with probate as predictable, fast, and efficient as possible.
- We offer flat rate fees depending upon the type of probate case.
- We have a network of estate buyers, appraisers, real estate agents, CPAs, and other types of professionals waiting to make your duties a little bit easier.
The passing of a loved one is a confusing and stressful time and handling a probate estate on top of this is often overwhelming for clients. Let our experienced attorneys help you navigate through this complex process.
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St. Louis, MO
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