Effective Legal Solutions To Help People And Their Families

Guiding You Through Estate Planning With Confidence

Estate planning is about more than just preparing paperwork. It’s about securing your future, ensuring that your wishes are respected, and providing for your loved ones. A solid estate plan is a gift to yourself and your family.

At Schmuke Law Firm, LLC, estate planning attorney Christie L. Schmuke helps clients take this important step in preparing for their future. She is highly knowledgeable in this niche area of law and keeps abreast of the latest legal developments. Having served both in private practice and as an in-house consultant for a large registered investment advisor (RIA) firm, she has the legal and financial know-how to deliver nuanced guidance for people throughout the St. Louis metro area.

Crafting Your Estate Plan: The Essentials

Everyone should have at least a basic estate plan. Depending on your circumstances, that plan might include:

  • Last will and testament: Your will is the cornerstone of your estate plan, outlining your final wishes and how you want your assets distributed.
  • Trusts: A revocable living trust, asset protection trust, or other type of trust offers additional control and privacy for managing your estate.
  • Advance health care directive and power of attorney: These tools give you the ability to set out your wishes regarding medical treatment and appoint a representative to carry out those decisions.
  • General durable power of attorney: This document empowers a trusted individual to handle your legal and financial affairs during a time when you are unable to handle them yourself.

Christie’s thorough understanding of tax law ensures that your estate plan not only meets your needs but also minimizes your tax burdens, maximizing benefits for your beneficiaries. She also applies her in-depth knowledge of Missouri probate and estate administration to provide guidance on how those considerations should inform your estate plan.

Business Succession Planning: Securing Your Business Legacy

For small business owners, Christie L. Schmuke provides clear and effective strategies for business succession planning. She will work diligently to ensure that your hard work continues to thrive through future generations.

Frequently Asked Questions About Estate Planning

Below are some common questions that Christie frequently addresses. She can provide detailed guidance for your unique situation.

What estate planning documents should I have?

Every adult who is 18 or older should have a complete set of powers of attorney in place, including one for medical decision-making and one for financial and legal decision-making.

Everyone with minor children needs to have a last will and testament to name guardians for their children. If you’d like to put a plan in place that differs from the state law, you also need a will to provide specific distribution instructions for your assets to the court.

If you’d like to have your assets distributed without the court’s involvement, then you’ll need to either use non-probate transfers or a revocable living trust.

What is the purpose of a power of attorney?

A power of attorney designates a trusted “agent” to manage your finances and medical care if you’re unable to do so. By creating a power of attorney, you can ensure that your affairs are managed according to your wishes even if you are unable to manage them yourself.

What is the difference between a living will and a healthcare power of attorney?

A living will or advance directive sets out your wishes regarding medical care such as end-of-life treatment. A healthcare power of attorney appoints a trusted individual to make medical decisions in alignment with your wishes if you’re legally incapacitated.

Your Peace Of Mind Starts Here

Take the step toward securing your legacy by enlisting the knowledgeable guidance of wills, trusts, and estates lawyer Christie L. Schmuke in St. Peters. Call 636-228-3657 or send an email to get started with a free initial consultation.