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What is Estate Planning?

An estate plan is a set of legal instructions for what will happen to your assets once you have passed, outlining what you wish to protect – and how – for your loved ones in the future. Estate planning is the process through which your estate plan is created and should involve a combination of pragmatism, compassion, and rational decision-making without losing sight of the emotions that come with such a task.

We may only get one chance to plan our estates, and how we do so will profoundly impact our families and loved ones. Often, estate planning mistakes happen after it’s too late. Each family has different needs and concerns. At The Law Firm of Christopher W. Dumm, we help design your estate plan for your particular family situation and the laws of your state. Working with an experienced Missouri estate planning attorney or Arkansas estate planning attorney can help you and your loved ones to craft an estate plan fit for your needs.

Estate Planning Checklist for Joplin & Springfield, MO, Bentonville, AR, and surrounding areas.

Each estate plan in Missouri or Arkansas is uniquely different. Your estate plan may include a mix of various documents, such as:

  • Wills and trusts
  • A durable power of attorney
  • Advance health care directives, including a healthcare proxy and living will
  • Guardianship

The documents in your Arkansas or Missouri estate plan will depend on your estate’s size and structure and the individual needs and wishes you would like executed on your behalf. At The Law Firm of Christopher W. Dumm, an experienced Missouri or Arkansas estate planning attorney will assist you with crafting the perfect estate plan for your legal needs, including wills and trusts.

Do I Need a Will or a Trust in Missouri or Arkansas?

Depending on your specific estate, you may need a will, a trust, or both. Our Joplin, MO law firm and Bentonville, AR, law firms specialize in the laws of both states to ensure your documents meet all requirements for your area.

A will is a written document that outlines your intentions after you pass away, disposes of your property, and names who inherits your property. As part of your estate plan, a will must go through Missouri or Arkansas probate court. An experienced probate attorney can guide your family through the process.

The court-managed process called probate, or estate administration, is where your loved one’s assets are managed and distributed. Most individuals are concerned about the strain this will put on their families. However, if your loved one owned their assets through a well-drafted and properly-funded living trust, court-managed administration may not be necessary.

A trust is a legal document that helps you or a loved one avoid probate. Upon drafting your estate plan, the trust is funded by owned property. Our Asset Alignment Coordinator will work with you to ensure deeds and titles to property are transferred to the trust correctly. Your designated beneficiaries will receive the assets in your trust after you pass.

If you have a trust established, a will can provide an additional layer of protection for any new or old property, which wasn’t addressed when the trust was first established. Our Arkansas law firm or Joplin, MO and Springfield, MO law firms understand the legal nuances in both states. Overall, each estate plan is different, so working with an experienced Missouri or Arkansas estate planning attorney can help you and your loved one decide which legal documents would be best to include in your estate plan.

The Law Firm of Christopher W. Dumm helps you and your loved ones understand estate planning, asset protection, probate and estate administration, elder law, Medicaid planning, special needs planning, tax planning, and business planning. We welcome you to contact our Joplin and Springfield, Missouri offices, as well as our Bentonville, AR office to learn more about how we can help meet your estate planning needs.



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