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FAQ

Q:

What Is Contested Probate?

A:

Contested probate is a process by which transfers of land or money are challenged following the death of the owner. These actions are brought where one party alleges that a different party asserted fraud, undue influence, coercion over the original owner of the land or money, or the original owner lacked the capacity required by law to make the transfers.

Q:

Do I Have to File a Lawsuit?

A:

It is not required that you file a lawsuit in order to challenge the transfer of land or money that conflicts with either the Last Will & Testament or a Trust document; however, it may be the only way to force the other side to take action. 

Q:

What Kind of Conduct Should I Look For?

A:

While each case is fact specific, there are several red flags that could indicate interference. When individuals make drastic changes to their estate plan in the last months of their life, or when they suddenly single out one child to the exclusion of the others, it may be time to consult an attorney.

Q:

What Is an Estate Plan?

A:

The simplest of answers is a plan to dispose of your property when you die. This can take the shape of a Last Will & Testament, a Trust documents, or non probate transfers. A quality estate plan will also consider the need for Durable Powers of Attorney for Financial and Medical Decisions. 

Q:

Who Can I Put in Charge of My Estate Plan?

A:

Most commonly, spouses and/or children are named in the estate documents as either the Personal Representative or the Executor. There are varying reasons why an individual might make the decision to choose someone other than family, and each client is different. While there are no wrong choice when it comes to your Personal Representative, there are several factors that you should consider.

Q:

How Much Does Estate Planning Cost?

A:

We offer basic estate planning services beginning at $750 for creation of your Last Will & Testament, Power of Attorney for Medical Decisions, and Power of Attorney for Financial Decisions. There are many other estate planning documents that may benefit your specific case which is discussed with every client. 

Q:

What Is Probate?

A:

Probate is a process by which the Court evaluate all of the assets you owned at the time of your death and assigns beneficiaries, either at the direction of a Will, or under the laws of intestate distribution. 

Q:

How Long Does Probate Take?

A:

In Kansas, a probate estate takes a minimum of 4 months to administer; in Missouri, the process takes a minimum of 6 months.

Q:

Why Do I Need Probate if There Is a Will?

A:

More than likely, yes. A will is nothing more than a set of instructions to the probate court stating how you would like your assets distributed. Your Personal Representative will still need an Order from the probate court to effectuate the transfer of those assets.

Q:

How Do I Establish Guardianship or Conservatorship Over Someone?

A:

In order to establish Guardianship or Conservatorship over a minor, or an incompetent adult, you need to first petition the probate court, and present evidence to support your claim. You may also be required to pass a series of background checks, and qualify for a bond.

Q:

How Long Does the Process Take?

A:

The process of qualifying for guardianship or conservatorship can take several months. The Court will appoint a Guardian ad Litem to represent the proposed Ward, and will usually require a hearing once all of the necessary paperwork has been filed.

Q:

What Are My Legal Responsibilities?

A:

The legal responsibilities for a guardians and conservators in Missouri can be found in Chapter 475 of the probate code; in Kansas, they can be found in Chapter 59, Article 30.