A Brief Introduction Missouri Probate Courts
Missouri probate courts deal with the distribution of a person’s property after their death. A bad reputation is often attributed to Missouri probate courts because they can be costly and a hassle, but unfortunately not much can be done to avoid them in most situations in which a loved one dies. A common belief is that wills avoid an estate’s entrance into Missouri probate court, but that’s simply untrue. A will is actually defined as legally-binding written instructions for a probate court, so it certainly won’t get you out of a Missouri probate court. The best way to minimize your trouble will be to simply better understand probate procedures.
Estates & Missouri Probate Courts
The most common reason for persons to step into a Missouri probate court is to deal with the estate of a recently deceased loved one, though there are other reasons. The process begins with the filing of a petition to open a person’s estate, and then actions differ depending on whether or not a will is in place. If one is in place, then the will first be validated with challengers to it able to discuss their reservations in court. A complete search for the deceased’s assets will be performed, and the money will be divided according to the principals of the will. A Petition for Executorship may also be filed to gain status of “Estate Executor” and be in charge of distribution.
This differs from the actions conducted by the descendants and heirs of those without wills. There the process is more complicated, and all the time that would have been invested in validating the will is instead put toward discussing who is entitled to which assets. An administrator will be appointed to supervise the distribution of assets.
Guardianships, Conservatorships & Missouri Probate Courts
Guardianships and conservatorships are sometimes called living probate court because they deal with living human beings associated with a deceased individual. The two groups that they involve are minors and the mentally or physically disabled—persons who cannot be expected to take care of themselves or make rational decisions about their future. Guardians take care of a person each day and make their life decisions with them, while conservators merely watch over such an individual’s finances. In is usually the case that guardians and conservators are the same, but not necessarily.
You will need to file a Petition for Guardianship or a Petition for Conservatorship to gain this status. Afterward, you will need to undergo regular investigation to prove that you are up to the task and that your ward is doing well.
Fees Associated with Missouri Probate Courts
Though they can be easy to navigate for those experienced or well-researched, there is little changing the fact that your visit to a Missouri probate court could be incredibly expensive. For small estates, the least costly to get through court, costs usually run from $400 to $600. Things only get costlier the higher up you go. An estate of $50,000 will have Missouri probate court costs from $2,300-$4,000, while one of $500,000 will likely have costs ranging from $14,800 to $28,000.