Do You Really Need A Lawyer for Estate Planning?

We live in a time when doing it yourself is extremely popular. Entire television channels have cropped up around it. My wife comes up with all sorts of ideas from something called Pinterest. I have personally gone to YouTube for tutorials on clothes dryer and car repairs (I even sort of did them right!). And … Read more

The simultaneous death rule in Missouri

We spend a lot of time in this blog talking about dealing with the worst-case scenario–your death or prolonged disability. What might be even worse, though, is a situation when your heirs die at the same time you do. And sadly, this does happen sometimes. CNBC points out that recently there have been some high-profile … Read more

The Alternatives to Disinheriting a Child

The decision to disinherit a child must be a painful decision–oftentimes, a relationship has been broken, maybe beyond the point of being salvaged. These decisions are very personal, and I’ve gotten some negative reactions when I’ve asked folks about those decisions (although I promise I wouldn’t ask if it weren’t important). If you’re preparing an … Read more

Estate Planning to Minimize Family Conflicts

Last month, LearnVest author Kristin Appenbrink wrote about estate planning and family friction in For the Love of Family: 6 Tales of Estate Planning Gone Wrong. It’s a good read, and it brings up the question of how we can plan estates to help minimize family tensions when a family member dies. Of course, we can’t … Read more

Estate Planning for Singles

When we talk about estate planning, I spend a lot of time talking about spouses and children. What about the single people? If anything, estate planning may actually be more important for single people, not less! Handling incapacity For married people, selecting someone to handle their financial affairs and medical decisions is usually pretty easy: generally … Read more

Estate Planning for Same-Sex Couples in a Changing Legal Environment

Note: As this post indicates, the legal environment concerning same-sex couples is a changing one, and on June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court released its opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges, which held that states must license and recognize marriages between two people of the same sex. That means that a lot of this post … Read more

How Adoption Affects Inheritance Rights

Last Tuesday, the Missouri Supreme Court handed down its decision in In Re Brockmire (Mo., 2014), a case involving a dispute over whether a grandchild could inherit from her biological grandfather when the grandchild’s mother was 1) still living, and 2) adopted by her stepfather before the grandfather died. The Court held that the grandchild … Read more