Missouri Probate Explained

Posted by Sheri Tucker, M.S., J.D.Sep 20, 20190 Comments

Navigating Missouri Probate is explained to help you with some basic understanding. If you recently experienced a death in the family, it is important to understand probate's legal proceedings.

What is Probate?

Probate is a court process ensuring the payments of debts, asset collection, and asset distributions to heirs or beneficiaries upon a loved one's death.  An estate is submitted to probate when a person dies with a will and dies intestate, without a will. If a will exists, it must be filed with the Probate Court within a year of your loved one's death.

Do I need an Attorney?

Missouri Probate law requires the hiring of attorney for probate court proceedings and to represent the Executor or Personal Representative. State law sets out how much payment the attorney receives, which is based on the value of the estate and costs.  Although state law governs the probate process, different counties have their own local court rules. Also, there are different fees and costs associated with probate such as filing fees, court costs and maybe publication costs.

Probate Values

The type of probate depends on the value of the estate minus the debts, and the type of property that is involved.  The Executor works with the attorney to provide a list of the assets and debts to determine what type of probate to file.  A small estate is a value of assets minus creditor debts that is less than $40,000. If an estate is less than $15,000 then notification does not need to be published.  If the estate is $15,000 and below $40,000, notice of the proceedings must be published. If the estate is $40,000 and above, it is not a small estate and must go through a full probate process.

Probate Proceedings

A will may state a request for informal proceedings.  Informal proceedings mean that estate assets and debts are paid without court formalities and evidentiary hearing. Required documents still must be filed with the Court, regardless if the estate is small or $40,000 and above.  Formal proceedings are required when the will is contested, and beneficiaries fight over asset division. Formal proceedings for an estate without a will may require independent or supervised administration depending on the value of the estate and the determination by the Court.

Your Probate Attorney

For an attorney who understands the Missouri probate process and provides compassionate advocacy contact Tucker Legal Services, for an attorney to support and help you through the probate process in a time of grief.  Learn more about this and other estate planning options by contacting Tucker Legal now.