Wills and trusts are estate planning tools to safeguard what you worked hard for during your life and provide for your loved ones after you’re gone. You deserve to choose your beneficiaries and how to disperse money and property.

A will and trust attorney with a deep understanding of Missouri law is a valuable resource for anyone who wants to ensure that their wishes are respected.

Contact Centonzio Law today to preserve your assets and protect those you love when you’re gone. Call 816-710-9455 or use our online form to schedule a consultation.

Wills & Trust Lawyers in Kansas City, MO

Most of us would like to spare spouses and family members from making legal and financial decisions without our input. A wills attorney helps you understand what legal documents you need in Missouri to ensure a smooth transition to your loved ones.

Centonzio Law removes the stress and uncertainty about estate planning. Our legal team guides you through filing and executing a will or trust, ensuring that you understand everything before signing.

Benefits of a Wills & Trust Lawyer

A legally binding and enforceable will or trust should not be reserved for the wealthy or just the elderly. Everyone should have a clear legal plan for the inevitable. At Centonzio Law, we make putting your affairs in order as easy as possible while remaining accessible and affordable.

No matter the size of your estate or the number of beneficiaries, let our attorneys ensure your wishes are respected.

Comprehensive Services

Our full-service wills and trusts law firm gives you the benefit of convenience and confirms that your estate plan meets the rigorous requirements under Missouri law. This spares you from costly legal arguments or court battles.

Save Time, Money & Stress

We draft wills and trust documents that address your needs and interests. We won’t waste time and will provide the services you need to make your wishes are clear. An attorney with Centonzio Law also helps streamline the administration and execution process to ensure a smooth transfer to your heirs.

Customized Wills & Trusts

The first step in our estate planning process is to listen. Then, we’ll create a customized estate plan. Whether you need a will or trust, our team takes care of everything from drafting documents to properly finalizing them per state law.

Update Existing Plans

Marriage, divorce, and children are life-changing events that affect estate planning. An attorney with Centonzio Law can examine your current documents and change them accordingly.

Ensure Wishes Are Respected

One of the most important aspects of estate planning is clarifying your final intentions. Whether it’s a will or trust, it should be you, not the court, to make these decisions. We’ll find a plan that works for you and prepare the necessary documents to carry out your legal and financial wishes.

Creating a Will or Trust in Kansas City, MO

Wills and trusts are complex legal documents. If they are improperly drafted, executed, and filed, they might not pass the requirements of the Missouri probate court. It’s always best to work with a trusted attorney who can explain what you need and how to protect your interests.

Will vs. Trust: What’s the Difference?

Wills and trusts transfer assets after you’re gone, but they are not the same.

Wills in Missouri

A will specifies who, what, how, and when you prefer your assets and belongings to be distributed. No two wills are the same. Some wills are a few pages, and others are longer.

Your will might include instructions on:

  • Who should inherit your money, real estate, and private possessions
  • Which charities should receive donations
  • What type of final arrangements, such as traditional burial or cremation
  • Who will care for minor children and other dependents
  • Whether you want to donate your body for medical research

Trusts in Missouri

A trust is a legal relationship in which a person or entity safeguards and uses assets or property for another’s benefit.

A trust might include:

  • Real estate
  • Bank accounts
  • Money market accounts
  • Stocks and bonds
  • Precious metals

Does a Will or Trust Eliminate Probate?

Having a will or trust does not wholly exclude someone from the probate process. Some trusts protect your estate from taxes or creditor claims. Having a trust also allows greater control over the estate and a swifter probate process.

Probate Exemption for Small Estates

Under Missouri law, estates of $40,000 or less do not require probate. There is also no estate tax and no need for a state tax return.

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What to Include in a Will or Trust

Missouri has specific requirements for legal wills and trusts. Any deviation or omission from these laws could result in an invalid will or trust.

Legal Requirements for a Will in Missouri

Individuals in Missouri must be 18 or older and of sound mind to create a will. If you are younger than 18, you must prove that you are an emancipated minor, married, or on active military duty.

Drafting Your Will

Even in today’s digital age, your will should be typed and printed on actual paper. When a legally enforceable will is created, you’ll receive a hard copy, and your attorney will retain another copy.

In rare circumstances, Missouri accepts oral (called nuncupative) wills. These are known as deathbed wills since imminent peril is a condition for legality.

Finalizing Your Will

Your will is not legally binding until it is properly signed and witnessed. You must sign your will in front of two witnesses, who then must sign their names in front of you. Your witnesses should be disinterested, neutral parties who do not profit from your death. If a beneficiary witnesses your will, they could lose their inheritance.

Missouri does not require you to notarize your will, but doing so speeds up the process. Centonzio Law provides a notary public who can attest to the authenticity of all signatures.

Elements of a Missouri Trust

A trust agreement is a legal document that contains the names of involved parties, terms, conditions, and other necessary information to create a trust.
A trust involves three parties:

  • The settlor (or trustor) is the individual who initiates the trust.
  • The trustee is the settlor’s individual (or entity) chosen to administer the trust.
  • The beneficiary (or beneficiaries) receive the trust’s assets as described in the agreement.
  • The trustee has a fiduciary duty to the beneficiary to transfer or dispose of assets.

Drafting & Finalizing a Trust in Missouri

Like a will, trusts require two witnesses who should not stand to gain from the trust. Your trust is then notarized.

Living Trusts

A living or revocable trust is a valuable tool in estate planning. In a living trust, the settlor places their assets and property into the trust. When they pass away, these assets pass along to the trustee, who distributes them according to the trust terms.