Estate Planning

Estate Planning At the Ott Law Firm, we want to help you protect your future.

Planning for the future doesn’t have to be scary

Many people wait to plan their estate because they’re afraid to have these conversations - who will take care of my children if something happens to me? How will my assets be passed on to the next generation? Who will make healthcare decisions for me if I’m not able to?
But what happens if you wait too long to create an estate plan? Without clear instructions on what to do after your death, your financial, legal, and medical matters may get tied up in probate courts. This can cost your loved ones a lot of time, money, and frustration. With an estate plan in place, you can ensure that everyone will be taken care of and your wishes will be carried out, even after you’re gone.

We put everything in place for your peace of mind


After working with Ott Law Firm, you’ll have a tailored estate plan in place. Whether you need a will or a living trust, we’ll make sure you have the right plan for your needs and wishes. Based on your unique situation, we’ll handle all the documents for your power of attorney, health care proxy, elder care, or special needs planning.
We thoroughly explain each document and any necessary next steps, so you’ll leave our office knowing exactly what your plan entails. Because it’s not enough for you to have an estate plan. We want you to have peace of mind.
No one knows what the future holds, so there’s no time like the present to formalize your last wishes. At Ott Law Firm, we make the estate planning process straightforward and simple.

At Ott Law Firm, we talk you through every step of the process

Our consultations feel more like conversations. We’ll ask questions, listen, and learn about your unique situation. We’ll find out what matters most to you and how you want your legacy to be passed on. When you have questions about how this process works, we take the time to break down each step in simple, straightforward terms. Call (314) 293-3756 to schedule your consultation today.

We put everything in place for your peace of mind


After working with Ott Law Firm, you’ll have a tailored estate plan in place. Whether you need a will or a living trust, we’ll make sure you have the right plan for your needs and wishes. Based on your unique situation, we’ll handle all the documents for your power of attorney, health care proxy, elder care, or special needs planning.
We thoroughly explain each document and any necessary next steps, so you’ll leave our office knowing exactly what your plan entails. Because it’s not enough for you to have an estate plan. We want you to have peace of mind.
No one knows what the future holds, so there’s no time like the present to formalize your last wishes. At Ott Law Firm, we make the estate planning process straightforward and simple.

Our Four-Step Process to a Fool-Proof Estate Plan Here’s what you can expect when working with Ott Law Firm

1. A Conversation and Consultation

In our initial meeting, you just need to bring your questions, your needs, and your wishes for the future. We’ll have an easy-going conversation where we learn about you and your unique situation. 

2. Draft your Documents

With your needs in mind, we’ll draft up all the documents you need for your estate plan. We share those documents for you to review. If you’re overwhelmed with sorting through all the papers you need for estate planning, we can send someone to your house to help you get all your documents in order. Have any questions? Just let us know and we’re happy to clarify.

3. Finalize and Sign

You review all the documents, which we’ve broken down and explained in simple terms. You suggest any changes you need, and we finalize those changes. Then, you sign the documents. Your fool-proof estate plan is in place.

4. Keep Everything in Order

Change is part of life. Will you need to change your estate plan after a birth, marriage, divorce, or new business venture? With our document organization system, we can quickly and easily update your estate plan for any changes life brings your way.

Do I Need a Will or Trust?

FIRST THINGS FIRST – WHY DO I NEED AN ESTATE PLAN?

1

Carefully crafted estate plan brings peace of mind. With the guidance of a qualified estate planning attorney, your estate plan will allow you to avoid guardianship and conservatorship during your lifetime, avoid probate at your death, help minimize taxes, and avoid delays in distributing your estate to you loved ones. At the Ott Law Firm, we can help to develop the best plan for you to ensure that you and your loved ones are taken care of in the future.

2

Establishing an estate plan is one of the most valuable measures that you can take to ensure that you and your loved ones are taken care of in the future. Proper estate planning is essential in helping to alleviate the expense, delay, and frustration for your loved ones, all of which are associated with managing your affairs if you become disabled or when you pass away.

WILLS, TRUSTS, AND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO

1

Everyone has heard the terms “will” and “trust,” but not everyone knows the differences between the two. Both are useful estate planning devices that serve different purposes, and both can work together to create a complete estate plan.

3

Another difference between a will and a trust is that a will passes through probate. That means a court oversees the administration of the will and ensures the will is valid and the property gets distributed the way the deceased wanted. A trust passes outside of probate, so a court does not need to oversee the process, which can save time and money. Unlike a will, which becomes part of the public record, a trust can remain private.

2

One main difference between a will and a trust is that a will goes into effect only after you die, while a trust takes effect as soon as you create it. A will is a document that directs who will receive your property at your death and it appoints a legal representative to carry out your wishes. By contrast, a trust can be used to begin distributing property before death, at death or afterwards.

4

Wills and trusts each have their advantages and disadvantages. For example, a will allows you to name a guardian for children and to specify funeral arrangements, while a trust does not. On the other hand, a trust can be used to plan for disability or to provide savings on taxes. Your elder law attorney can tell you how best to use a will and a trust in your estate plan.

5 Critical Aspects of Estate Planning

Durable Power of Attorney

It’s important to draft a durable power of attorney (POA) so an agent or a person you assign will act on your behalf when you are unable to do so yourself. Absent a power of attorney, a court may be left to decide what happens to your assets if you are found to be mentally incompetent, and the court’s decision may not be what you wanted. This document can give your agent the power to transact real estate, enter into financial transactions and make other legal decisions as if he or she were you. This type of POA is revocable by the principal at a time of his or her choosing, typically a time when the principal is deemed to be physically able, or mentally competent, or upon death. In many families, it makes sense for spouses to set up reciprocal powers of attorney. However, in some cases it might make more sense to have another family member, friend or trusted advisor who is more financially savvy act as the agent.

Beneficiary Designations

A number of your possessions can pass to your heirs without being dictated in the will (e.g. a 401(k) plan assets). This is why it is important to maintain a beneficiary — and a contingent beneficiary — on such an account. Insurance plans should contain a beneficiary and a contingent beneficiary as well because they too typically pass outside of a will. If you don’t name a beneficiary, or if the beneficiary is deceased or unable to serve, a court could be left to decide the fate of your funds. And frankly, a judge who is unaware of your situation, beliefs or intent is unlikely to make the same decision you would have made.

Wills

A will is a document composed during your lifetime that allows you to indicate your preference for the disposition of your assets following your death. In the event that you have a relatively straightforward estate, a will is an effective means of insuring that the assets are distributed appropriately and without the need for relying upon the probate court to make determinations that might be contrary to your intent.

 
 

Trusts

Trusts can also be helpful in disposing of assets after death. With a trust, you transfer your interest in the property to the trust itself and have the trust be managed by a trustee. This transfer of title to the assets means that your property can entirely avoid the probate process, as opposed to simply directing it as in the case of a will.

Trust can also do some powerful things like allowing you to receive the benefits of Missouri medicaid or additional social security benefits.

 

Special Needs Trusts

I have a lot of experience dealing with brain injuries and the law and often these injuries result in the need for the appointment of a special trustee to control and distribute assets of a disabled person. These trusts can be really powerful tools for allowing a person with special needs to retain a limited amount of agency over the assets while still insuring that the resources are not squandered and are spent appropriately to deal with the special needs of such a person.

Scroll to Top