On December 20, 2019, President Trump signed the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act (SECURE Act), which became effective January 1, 2020.
We provide you with tips and wisdom to help individuals understand and create roadmaps for the distribution and preservation of assets and why wealth planning is so crucial.
Whether you are an expert in probate and have dealt with it on multiple occasions or a rookie, we can all agree on one thing: probate kind of sucks and should be and can be avoided. Let’s start with the basics: What is probate? Probate is a Court-guided process whereby a deceased individual’s financial affairs are wrapped up and the Court determines who the proper beneficiaries are of the deceased individual’s estate. The words “court-guided process” should automatically lead you to the accurate assumption that probate can be expensive both in time and money.
Historically, Missouri trust law prevented beneficiaries of a trust from replacing a trustee absent a showing that the trustee had committed a breach of trust. This law tended to insulate investors administering trusts from competition. Even if beneficiaries were dissatisfied with a corporate trustee who obtained average returns and charged high fees, they could not replace the trustee without proving misconduct. However, Missouri’s trust law has expanded beneficiaries’ power to remove trustees, so Missouri corporate trustees may soon face a more competitive environment.
As if estate planning didn't already seem complicated enough, blended families now make up a growing portion of our demographic and pose many additional considerations when trying to plan for the transition of their estate. When I started my practice as a wealth planning attorney, I would say about two out of ten families that I met with for estate planning or administration purposes were what we call "blended families" - families where at least one person brought children from a prior marriage.
So I’m an estate planner …well … what’s that mean? That’s a question I get all the time, whether by a prospective client or a neighbor or somebody sitting next to me at the bar. My answer: I make things easier for families during the worst possible situations. Whether that is a result of a loved one dying, becoming incapacitated, getting divorced… But let’s be honest, isn’t estate planning the easiest thing to put off and not talk about? I mean it’s morbid… sad to think about.