Wills and Trusts | Estate Planning | Park Hills, MO
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James R. Joyce LLC has been practicing law since 1997.

Wills and Estate Planning

Have you been thinking about what would happen to your possessions, and any minor children, in the event of your death? If you die without a will, your assets will be divided pursuant to law—and that may not be how you wanted it divided; and any minor children you may have may not be placed with persons you would want them placed with. Thus, now is the time to be thinking about making a will. A will would ensure that these things are taken care of the way you want them to be.


Of course, most people think that if you have a will it avoids the probate court, and in many cases that simply isn’t so. Many people would like to avoid the public’s ability to see their personal business, as well as the lengthy process of the probate court. In this event, there are other estate

planning procedures that can be undertaken to be sure that everything is done in a timely manner and in a non-public venue, so that everything is simpler for your family in the event of your death.


Estate planning can also include preparing beneficiary deeds, “transfer-on-death” titles, and other out-of-court procedures. All, some, or none of these may available to you, depending on how your property is held.

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There are different types of guardianships, though all are filed in the probate division of the circuit court. There are guardianships for minor children—this could be because their parents are deceased, because the parents simply can’t properly take care of them, or for any number of problems in the child’s life.


Filing for a guardianship would allow you to act as the legal guardian of the child for such things as medical care, school enrollments, or anything the parent could otherwise take care of.Likewise, there are guardianships for what the court terms “incapacitated persons”, meaning adults who are unable to properly care for themselves.


This could be a parent, an aunt, even a dear friend who has no one else to care for them. The court would monitor either type of guardianship to ensure that the child or adult is being properly cared for.


When a family member passes away, it can be a challenging experience both mentally and physicallying—trying to sort through their belongings, locate their bank accounts, and take other actions which are required to be sure things go as the deceased person wished. Whether or not they had a will, you can open an estate to be sure things are processed in a more efficient manner.


We will sit down together and look through what you have, and I can then tell you whether or not it is necessary or

beneficial to open an estate; and if so, how to begin the process.