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Trusts Attorney in Columbia, Missouri

According to a new Caring.com survey, only about one-third (32.9%) of U.S. adults currently have estate planning documents such as a living trust or will. Preparing for the uncertainties of life and maintaining control of your assets requires proper estate planning. Of all the available estate planning options, establishing a trust allows you to safeguard your assets, reduce or avoid estate tax burdens, plan for your family's future, and avoid the lengthy probate process.

If you need assistance drawing up your living trust or want to understand how estate planning works, you need to speak with an experienced Missouri estate planning attorney. I'm committed to providing outstanding legal services and knowledgeable guidance to clients in the legal matters of estate planning, including trusts, wills, power of attorney, and probate. I'm available to discuss your unique circumstances, enlighten you about your possible options, and determine what estate plan best suits your unique needs and those of your loved ones.

My firm – Ford, Parshall & Baker – is proud to serve clients in Columbia, Missouri, and the surrounding areas of Boonville, Jefferson City, and Fulton.

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Overview of Trusts

A trust can be described as a fiduciary relationship whereby a person (guarantor) gives another person (successor trustee or trustee) the authority to manage their assets upon their death or sudden incapacitation for the benefit of their beneficiaries. The trustee will be responsible for administering the estate and distributing assets to beneficiaries and heirs according to the provisions of the trust.

Types of Trusts

Generally, there are two types of trusts in Missouri: revocable and irrevocable.

Revocable: A revocable or living trust is a trust that is created while the guarantor is alive. The guarantor maintains total control over the trust while he or she is still alive. The revocable trust can be amended, terminated, or revoked by the guarantor at any time.
Irrevocable: An irrevocable trust is a trust that cannot be modified, amended, or revoked by the guarantor without the beneficiary's permission. Once assets are placed in the irrevocable trust, the guarantor relinquishes control over them. Also, the guarantor will not be required to pay taxes on the assets placed in the trust.

Others: The other types of trusts that are recognized in Missouri include:

  • Testamentary trusts

  • Protection trusts

  • Supplemental needs trusts

  • Pet trusts

  • Charitable trusts

An experienced attorney can evaluate your possible options and guide you through the process of drafting your trust documents.

Process of Creating a Trust

Below are the steps involved in creating a living trust in the state of Missouri:

  • Determine whether to create an individual trust or shared trust.

  • Determine the property and assets you want to include in the trust.

  • Choose a successor trustee.

  • Decide the people who will get the trust property (beneficiaries).

  • Draft the trust document with the guidance of an experienced lawyer.

  • Sign the trust document in front of a notary public.

  • Change the title of the trust assets.

For a trust to be legal and valid, it is important that you follow all procedural requirements. An experienced trust attorney can offer you the comprehensive guidance you need to create a valid trust.

Why Having a Trust Is Important

Having a trust is important because:

  • It allows you to control who will receive certain assets or property.

  • It helps you manage and control investments and spending.

  • It helps protect beneficiaries from waste and poor judgment.

  • It protects assets from creditors and frivolous lawsuits.

  • It allows you to keep away assets and resources for minor children until a future date.

  • It helps manage business assets to facilitate business succession.

  • It helps you reduce or eliminate income taxes and estate taxes.

  • It allows you to choose a successor trustee who will help manage the trust assets.

  • It protects you in case of mental incapacitation.

  • It helps you bypass the court-supervised probate process and maintain privacy.

Having a trust is crucial to protect your assets and loved ones upon your death or sudden incapacitation. An experienced attorney can help you navigate key decisions when drafting your trust documents, including choosing a dependable successor trustee.

Choosing a Trustee

The trustee will have the authority to manage the trust assets for your loved ones. Here are some things to consider when choosing a trustee:

  • Choose someone who is reliable and trustworthy.

  • Choose someone who is financially astute.

  • Choose someone who is accountable and can keep detailed records.

  • Choose someone who is familiar with the primary concepts of investing.

  • Choose someone who is able to make informed decisions even while under strenuous circumstances.

Choosing a trustee to manage your estate when you are unavailable or unable to do so is a significant decision. An experienced attorney can evaluate your needs and help you make informed decisions.

How an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney Can Help

It’s never too early to prepare for the future. Should you become incapacitated, unavailable, or unable to voice your opinion, your family members can achieve peace of mind knowing your true wishes. An experienced estate planning attorney can review your different options and help you decide the ideal estate plan that best fits your needs and your family's best interests.

I have devoted my career to assisting and guiding individuals, families, and fiduciaries in estate planning-related matters. As your legal counsel, I can enlighten you about the benefits of having a trust and how it can be structured to achieve your unique goals. Also, I will help draft your trust documents and craft a strategic plan to fund your trust.

Using my extensive experience, I will guide you through the entire estate planning process and help you achieve your goals for transferring your assets, property, and wealth to your loved ones. I will work diligently with you to address your needs and concerns and help you navigate important decisions.

Trusts Attorney Serving Columbia, Missouri

Having a properly drafted living trust can help protect your assets and the future of your family. If you need proper guidance drafting your trust or estate plan, contact my firm – Ford, Parshall & Baker – today to schedule a one-on-one case assessment. I can offer you the detailed legal counsel you need to navigate important decisions. My firm proudly serves clients in Columbia, Boonville, Jefferson City, and Fulton, Missouri.