Probate Avoidance Attorney in Missouri

Keep Your Assets Out of Probate with Revocable Living Trusts, Beneficiary Deeds, POD, TOD, Joint Titling and Non-Probate Transfers

By: Joseph Piatchek

At the Piatchek Law Firm, LLC, our Springfield, Missouri probate avoidance Attorneys Kara L. Breshears and Joseph J. Piatchek have advised thousands of clients on how to avoid probate court, and they understand the tools available to do avoid probate - Revocable Living Trusts, Payable on Death (POD) Designations, (TOD) Transfer on Death Designations, Beneficiary Deeds,  joint titling, non-probate transfers, and other probate avoiding transfer techniques.  

But first, let's be honest.  You have probably heard of Probate, and also probably know that it is best to avoid probate.  However, do you really know why you need to  avoid probate?  In the event you would like to know more about Probate Court, then we encourage you to read our both our probate law overview page, as well as our page on the different types of Probate estates.

Why Avoid Probate?

The probate process usually costs money, and it can take a long time.  To be specific, many probate cases will cost a minimum of an amount equal to 5 to 10 percent of the assets that go through probate; and many full probate estates take as long as one year or longer.  It is not a private process; probate court records are public knowledge, and assets that are being probated are like a sitting duck for any outstanding creditors – creditors simply file a claim with the Probate Court and will likely get paid.  Probate can also be confusing, cumbersome, and time consuming.  So if it's possible to avoid probate, the question is - why wouldn't you want to avoid probate? Probate Court can be totally avoided with the help of an estate planning attorney experienced in probate avoidance, and some thoughtful estate planning – two things we certainly offer at our firm.

At The Piatchek Law Firm, LLC, we help people to avoid probate and in the process help them save their loved ones the costs, delays and indignities of public probate proceedings. If you would like to learn more about how you can avoid probate, our attorneys would be happy to meet with you in person or by phone, evaluate your situation, and explain the options available to you.  Many estate planning, will, and trust services are also provided at a reasonable flat fee.

For quality Estate Planning services throughout Missouri, including in our home town of Springfield, Missouri, call us at417-882-5858 or contact us to schedule a consultation.

Estate Planning Tools You Can Use to Avoid Probate

Used together, the estate planning tools described below can help most people accomplish their goal of avoiding probate.

  • Revocable Living Trusts.  By establishing a revocable living trust, you can retain control of assets during your lifetime while ensuring a smooth, non-probate distribution of those assets to intended beneficiaries when the time comes.  
  • Beneficiary Deeds.  A Beneficiary Deed is a type of Missouri Real Estate Deed can be used to transfer real estate, such as your home or any other real estate you own, upon the death of the owner.  This transfer upon death will take place without the real estate having to go through probate, and without having to jointly title such property with children, spouses, or other intended beneficiaries while the owner is still alive.
  • Transfer On Death (TOD) Designations. Transfer on Death designations, also known as "TOD designations",  typically allow you to transfer personal property (things) to one or more beneficiaries in the event of your death, outside of the probate process.  Transfer on Death (TOD) designations are often associated with personal property such as vehicles, cars, boats, trailers, motorcycles or other personal property. However, there are limitations on what a person can do, or should do, with these simple  TOD designations, and an experienced probate avoidance attorney can assist you with your TOD questions and concerns.
  • Payable On Death (POD) Designations. Payable on Death designations, also known as "POD designations", typically allow you to transfer financial accounts (money) to one or more beneficiaries in the event of your death, outside of the probate process.  Payable on Death (POD) designations are often associated with bank accounts, stock accounts, and all types of financial accounts. Please keep in mind that there are limitations on what a person can do, or should do, with these simple POD designations, and an attorney experienced in probate avoidance can assist you with your POD questions and concerns.
  • Beneficiary Bill of Sale / Beneficiary Transfer Instrument. These estate planning documents are usually very short, simple documents that establish beneficiaries for your tangible, personal property (a.k.a. "stuff" or "things") upon your death.  For example, a beneficiary transfer instrument can give away all of your household goods, furnishings, and clothing to a beneficiary or beneficiaries, upon your death.  Think of a beneficiary bill or a beneficiary transfer instrument as a "TOD desingation for stuff".  Beneficiary transfer instruments are not typically used for titled items such as vehicles, but are only used for untitled tangible personal property.
  • Joint Titling of Property.  Simply titling property in more than one person's name can cause these items to avoid probate upon the death of one of the owners.  However, this type of planning is deceptively simple, and many mistakes can be made.  This is partially because there are several different ways to jointly title property, and not all joint titling leads to probate avoidance.  In Missouri alone, there is several ways that co-owners can own real estate, such as tenancy in common (which does not avoid probate), joint tenancy with rights of survivorship (which does avoid probate), and tenancy by the entirety (which is a special form of Missouri property ownership for husbands and wives only and it does avoid probate).  So as you can see, joint ownership of property has many nuances and can get confusing very quickly.  An experience estate planning and probate attorney experienced in probate avoidance can help you with these concerns.

Missouri Probate Attorneys Who Also Know How to Avoid Probate

Serving all of Missouri, including the Springfield area

Let us help your family make sure your assets get to your beneficiaries without the cost and delay of probate. Call us at 417-882-5858 or contact us online to set up a confidential consultation.  We offer free initial consultations for estate planning matters and may be available for evening and weekend appointments, on a case by case basis. We also may be able to arrange a home visit in the community if you are unable to travel to our offices.

Visit Joseph Piatchek and Piatchek Law Firm on  Google+ Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin

The Piatchek Law Firm, LLC, serves Springfield and southwest Missouri, including Greene County, Christian County, Taney County, Stone County, Marshfield, Buffalo, Fordland, Bolivar, Republic, Rogersville, Fremont Hills, Strafford, Willard, Battlefield, Highlandville, Nixa, Ozark, Brookline, Billings, Clever and Mt. Vernon, MO.

* The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements. Neither the Supreme Court of Missouri nor The Missouri Bar reviews or approves certifying organizations or specialist designations. Certain cases may be referred, or may involve outside co-counsel arrangements, in which event you would be notified.