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ESTATE PLANNING
LAW FIRM

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Law Offices In Missouri & Illinois

An Estate Planning Attorney Who Can Help

Estate Plans
&Wills

You, not the government, decides who gets what of your property at your death. Name your desired guardians for your minor or special needs children. Pick who you want to administer your estate. Explain your preferred post-death arrangements.

Revocable Living
Trusts

Control your property while living, then get it distributed outside of probate per your wishes at your death. Avoid the costs, hassles, & delay of the probate court process. Keep your property private, not open to the public. Liability/judgment protection might also be possible.

Irrevocable
Trusts

Protect your property from judgments by placing them in an irrevocable trust. Reduce your countable assets for certain benefits. Reduce your tax liabilities. Control how funds are distributed to beneficiaries. 

 

Special / Supplemental
Needs Trusts

Protect, provide, & care for your loved ones with physical or mental disabilities, while also ensuring that they do not become disqualified to receive certain governmental benefits due to their income or assets.

 

Powers Of Attorney
For Healthcare

Choose who you want to make your important healthcare decisions if you become incapacitated by a physical or mental condition or disability.  Provide guidance for what type of treatment you want.  Prevent your loved ones from dealing with uncertainty & anxiety.

 

Powers Of Attorney
For Property

Choose who you want to manage your important financial matters if you become incapacitated by a physical or mental condition or disability. Provide guidance & limits for what you want done. Prevent your loved ones from possibly needing a court to appoint a conservator. 

 

Payable / Transfer
On Death Instruments

Fully control certain assets while living, then have them distributed directly per your wishes at your death. Avoid the costs, hassles, & delay of the probate court process.

 

Living Wills /
Healthcare Directives

Provide guidance for your loved ones about your wishes related to your end-of-life healthcare treatment. Avoid causing your loved ones the agony of trying to guess how you would have wanted your life to end.  

 

Working With Us Is Easy

Free, Confidential Consultations

Available By Phone 24/7

Evening & Weekend Appointments

Client Satisfaction Promise

We Can Come To You

Straightforward, No Surprise Fees

Explanations In Plain English

Convenient Locations

5-Star Reviewed

Our Estate Planning Can Ensure That:

While You Are Living… 

• Your Medical Care & End of Life Decisions Are Respected Should You Become Disabled

• Your Personal Finances Are Properly Handled If You Become Disabled

• Your Property Is Protected from Judgments

• YOU GET PEACE OF MIND

After Your Passing…

• Your Money & Other Property Are Distributed Per Your Wishes, Not State Law

• Your Family & Loved Ones, Including Those With Special Needs, Are Cared & Provided For

• Your Estate Pays No – Or Minimal – Estate Taxes

• The Content Of Your Estate Stays Private

• Your Property Is Not Tied Up In Court For Years Or Subject To Attorney Fees & Court Costs

• Your Favorite Causes & Charities Are Supported

• Your Business Continues Operating 

• Your Pets Are Looked After

• Your Family Doesn’t Have To Deal With Legal Headaches While Mourning You

• YOUR LOVED ONES & LEGACY ARE PROTECTED

What Our Clients Say:

"I would definitely recommend Wayfinder Law Offices.  They were very professional and thorough while representing me.  Any more legal needs I may have, Wayfinder Law is where I'm calling for help." - Aaron C., Google Review 
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"Overall great experience.  Wayfinder Law helped my family with our estate planning and ultimately a whole lot more...  I  look forward to working with Wayfinder again in the future."  - John R., Google Review 
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"We knew we had to make plans for our estate, but didn't know where to start.  Wayfinder Law made the process so simple... They walked us through our options and helped guide us to make sure we were making the best decisions for our situation.  I have also utilized their expertise for litigation which was also extremely professional and thorough.  We would highly recommend the law firm for both."  - Lisa S., Google Review 
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Our Promise

Our Goal Is To Get You The Outcome Your Want & Make Your Experience As Positive As Possible.  To Do This, We Promise To:

• Truly Listen & Learn About Your Unique Situation & Legal Concerns,

• Answer Your Questions In A Clear, Understandable Manner,

• Be Upfront & Honest About Your Legal Matter,

• Keep You Informed Of Important Developments,

• Treat You How We Would Want To Be Treated, and

• Do Great Work.

Why You Need An Estate Plan

Estate planning is a means to ensure that your most important wishes are carried out upon your death (or at any point during your life that you become unable to handle your own affairs). 

Common wishes include: providing financial support for family & loved ones, ensuring proper care for minor children or disabled family members, contributing to charity, maintaining privacy, protecting assets, having a quick & efficient settling of one’s affairs after their death. Also very important are choices about who will oversee one’s financial affairs & medical treatment decisions should they become incapacitated. 

In essence, the best estate planning attorney ensures their clients’ peace of mind, & we take pride in providing you with this result. 

Preparing an estate plan appropriate for your unique situation can be complex, confusing, and intimidating. You need an experienced and successful local estate planning attorney to act as your guide and craft a custom estate plan just for you. Wayfinder Law, a law firm with offices in St. Louis, Missouri, and Belleville, Illinois, strives to fulfill this need.

When you need an estate planning attorney in Missouri or Illinois, contact Wayfinder Law. Whether you need a will, a trust, a power of attorney, or other estate planning documents prepared, our law firm is dedicated to providing all of our clients with exceptional services. 

When you schedule a free consultation with an estate planning attorney from Wayfinder Law, we’ll schedule a time during to meet with you to discuss your concerns. If you need to schedule an appointment on the weekends, we can accommodate you there as well. 

You need a local estate planning lawyer who will carefully listen to your unique situation and legal concerns, answer any questions you may have, and suggest the best legal course of action.  At Wayfinder Law, we want to be that estate planning attorney.

Estate Planning
Frequently Asked Questions

We individually tailor estate plans based on each client’s unique needs and desires.  However, most basic estate plans include the following documents: 1) a last will and testament, 2) a revocable living trust, 3) a power of attorney for healthcare, 4) a power of attorney for property, and 5) a living will.  Depending upon the specific needs of a client, additional, more complicated documents might be utilized.  

A last will and testament is the formal name for a will.  A will is a written, signed document in which a person, called the testator, expresses their desire about how their money and other assets should be distributed following their death.  Other important provisions, among others, include the testator’s choice of who will administer their estate and, if applicable, who will care for their minor children or disabled family members upon their death.  

If you die without a will, which is called dying “intestate,” then any of your assets which are required to undergo the probate process will be distributed according to state law, not according to your wishes.  Also, more significantly, if you have minor children or disabled family members and die intestate, your wishes for who you want to care for them might not ever be known, or considered, by the court.  Finally, probate is generally much more expensive, and time consuming, in comparison to a good estate plan which avoids probate. 

A power of attorney is a legal document in which an individual, the “principal,” gives another person, the “agent,” the power to act on their behalf.   In a typical estate plan, a power of attorney for healthcare and a power of attorney for property are prepared.  As the agent might need to make critical decisions about the principal’s healthcare treatment and finances, it is key that a trusted person be selected as the agent. 

The powers of attorney we typically recommend for our estate planning clients are “springing” and “durable,” meaning that they do not take effect until a condition is met – e.g., the principal loses their ability to think clearly or function – and they continue in effect while the person cannot make decisions of their own. Typically, outside of estate planning, a power of attorney become effective immediately when signed and ceases once the principal loses their decision making capacity. 

No one wants to think that at some point they might be unable to think clearly or act in a competent manner.  However, if this does happen, and if you don’t have powers of attorney for property and healthcare in place, a court action will need to be filed to protect you and your assets.  This court action, which is expensive and time consuming,  involves a judge appointing a legal guardian and conservator to make decisions on your behalf.  

A living will is a type of advance directive (a written document which specifies your desires should you be unable to express such desires in the future). In a living will, a person expresses their wishes about what health care treatment they want – and do not want – if they lose their ability to think clearly or function.  

A revocable living trust is a helpful estate planning tool that can act to hold legal title to certain of your property, thereby allowing the property to be transferred according to your wishes at your death while avoiding the probate process.  It is called a revocable living trust because it can be modified or terminated by the grantor (the person who placed property into the trust) during their lifetime.  

Other than a special type of joint revocable living trust between a married couple living in Missouri, this type of trust does nothing to shield your property from judgment creditors.

An irrevocable trust is a trust where the grantor (the person putting property into the trust) cannot amend or terminate the trust once it has been created and funded.  It can only be modified or terminated by the beneficiary of the trust – that is, the person for whom the trust was created to benefit. 

This type of trust can be helpful for protecting one’s assets from judgments, obtaining tax benefits, and qualifying for  government benefits, such as Medicaid. 

At Wayfinder Law, the estate planning process involves us: 1) meeting you to discuss your needs and desires, 2) explaining  the various options available to you, 3) assisting you identify, understand, and properly position your financial resources, and 4) helping you navigate potentially difficult decisions which could impact family relationships. 

We then prepare draft estate plan documents based on the your expressed wishes, review the draft estate plan with you and make any desired revisions, and assist you with the last steps needed to complete the estate plan.

Importantly, we answer, in a clear and uncomplicated manner, any questions you have during the estate planning process.

The cost of an estate plan is chiefly determined by the size and scope of your assets, your family circumstances, and the complexity of your desired plan.  The cost of more complicated estate plans, such as those involving irrevocable trusts, are determined on a case-by-case basis.  However, you will know exactly how much your estate plan will cost before we begin work on your plan.  

In addition to preparing your estate planning documents, we hope to develop – through our care, personal attention, and quality of work – a long lasting personal and professional relationships with you. 

There is no law which prevents a person from attempting to prepare their own estate plan and related documents, and there are many low cost, standard, template or internet-based options available.  In some cases, a person might be fine using such an option to prepare a basic will, for instance.  

However, without having the expertise to consider all applicable laws, rules, exceptions, and technicalities which might apply to your particular situation, you risk disaster – i.e., your wishes not being carried out.  You won’t know if you screwed up your estate plan, buy your family will…

Given the importance of an having a proper estate plan, we believe that hiring an attorney to ensure that your most important wishes are implemented is one of the best investments you can make.

Depending on the size and scope of a client’s assets, their family circumstances, and the complexity of their desired estate plan, it can take from under a week to a month or more, start to finish, for the preparation of a individually tailored estate plan.  Another factor which affects how long the process takes is how quickly clients can make key decisions and gather all of their important information and documents we need to properly prepare the estate plan documents. 

Once your estate plan has been completed, you need to reassess the needs and desires expressed in your plan documents, along with your health, financial, and family circumstances, every year or so.  If changes occur, such as the birth of a child, a divorce, or windfall of money, changes might need to be made to your estate plan.  Also, depending on the type of documents included in your estate plan, such as a trust, you might need to take additional steps more frequently, such as the timely re-titling of newly acquired assets.  

Wayfinder Law’s aim is to develop a beneficial, long lasting relationship with you so that we can serve your estate planning needs throughout the course of your life, and beyond.

Take The First Step Now

Putting off getting an estate plan (or modifying a plan based on changed circumstances), despite its critical importance, is easy to do. Most people think they will never become incapacitated and that their death is far, far off, so they procrastinate. 

However, try thinking about the results of your become incapacitated or dying without a sound estate plan – the confusion, stress, and headaches for your family; a court intervening in your and your family’s affairs; and your assets being tied up and subject to unnecessary expenses, taxes, and disputes; your property being distributed against your wishes, among many other unpleasant possibilities.  

We don’t judge. If you wanted to get an estate plan (or modify an existing plan) long ago but never did, don’t be embarrassed. Be grateful that you didn’t need the benefit of an estate plan yet. 

Take The First Step To Achieving Peace Of Mind For You & Your Family – Contact Us Today. 

Leading You To
Peace Of Mind

Missouri Location

7777 Bonhomme Ave., #1800

St. Louis, MO  63105

Phone: 314-312-1111

Toll Free: 833-929-3463

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Office Hours

Mon. to Fri. 9:00 am – 5 pm

Special Appointments Available

Available By Phone 24/7

Illinois Location

1 S. Church St., #500

Belleville, IL  62220

Phone: 618-726-9000

Toll Free: 833-929-3463

Click Here For Google Map

Office Hours

Mon. to Fri. 9:00 am – 5 pm

Special Appointments Available

Available By Phone 24/7