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Comprehensive Estate Planning Services

Estate Planning in Cape Girardeau

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Imagine a life where you're fully in control of what happens to your assets and your loved ones. Let’s make that a reality with proper planning.

Protect your family’s future and preserve your assets with a well-crafted estate plan. Take the first step towards peace of mind.


Serving clients in Cape Girardeau, MO where we provide comprehensive estate planning services.

To most who live in Cape Girardeau, the term “estate planning” doesn’t mean much, but Attorney Mark McMullin makes it clear and simple. When most people think of estate planning, they think of wills, trusts, and powers of attorney. These are essential tools, but the real focus is ensuring you’re in control of what happens to your affairs if you become incapacitated or pass away.

Proper planning is the key to putting you in control, as the saying goes: “Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance.” Estate planning is the ultimate “Proper Planning” for you and your family. Without it, your future could be decided by the government, a nursing home, or even someone you didn’t choose. The Law Office of Mark McMullin creates solutions for our Cape Girardeau clients that give them control and ensure their assets are managed by who they want, when they want, and how they want.

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How Attorney Mark McMullin Can Help You Plan Your Estate

Importance of Proper Estate Planning

If an individual does not have a last will and testament or a trust, upon his or her death, assets will pass according to the default set of laws of Missouri which has jurisdiction over those assets.  The “Missouri plan” does not necessarily follow the wishes of the deceased and can result in higher estate taxes, greater expenses for family, strangers serving as guardians for minor children, and other difficulties.  A carefully tailored estate plan ensures that personal preferences and objectives are clearly stated so that the individual’s intentions will be carried out exactly as desired.

How Attorney Mark McMullin Can Help You Plan Your Estate

Estate planning is putting your affairs in order so as to achieve these three objectives:

  1. To ensure that your assets will pass at death to those persons designated in a manner which will give them the maximum benefits.
  2. To reduce or eliminate the tax burden on your estate.
  3. To provide for the passing of your assets at your death to your chosen beneficiaries with a minimum of cost, time, and inconveniences.

– 01. Last Will and Testament

Estate Planning Solutions for Cape Girardeau Residents

A last will and testament is one part of a comprehensive estate plan. If a person dies without a will, they are said to have died “intestate” and Missouri law will determine how their assets will be distributed. some things you should know about wills:

  • A will has no legal authority until after death.
  • A will does not help manage a person’s affairs if they become incapacitated.
  • A will does not help an estate avoid probate.

A will can be used to nominate the guardians of your minor children in the event that they are orphaned. all parents of minor children should have a will to document their choice of guardians for their children. If you leave the appointment of a guardian to chance, you might cause a substantial amount of family infighting, and your children could end up with the wrong guardians.

Last will and testament
Cape Girardeau, Missouri Attorney Focusing On Estate Planning and Medicaid

2. Benefits of Trusts

Trusts can serve a variety of legal, personal, investment or tax planning purposes

At the most basic level, a trust is an agreement with at least three parties involved: (1) the trust-maker (the grantor or settlor), (2) trust manager (the trustee), and (3) the trust beneficiary.

Sometimes, all three parties are one person or a married couple. In the case of a revocable living trust, a person may create a trust and name themselves as the current trustee to manage the trust assets for themselves as a beneficiary with their children as contingent beneficiaries. In fact, this is the most common type of revocable living trust we see for Cape Girardeau married couples.

Depending on the situation, there may be many advantages to creating a trust, including the avoidance of probate. In most cases, assets owned in a revocable living trust will pass to the trust beneficiaries immediately upon the death of the trust-maker(s) with no probate required. Certain trusts also may result in tax advantages both for the trust-maker and the beneficiaries. Trusts may be used to protect property from creditors, or simply to provide for someone else to manage and invest property for the trust-maker(s) and the named beneficiaries. If properly drafted, another advantage of trusts is their continuing effectiveness even if the trust-maker dies or becomes incapacitated.

3. Powers of Attorney

A power of attorney is a legal document giving one person (the agent) the legal right to do certain things on behalf of another person who grants those powers.

A power of attorney may be very broad or may be very limited and specific.

All powers of attorney terminate upon the death of the principal, and may terminate when the principal becomes incapacitated. When the intent is to designate a back-up decision-maker in the event of incapacity, then a durable power of attorney should be used. Durable powers of attorney should be frequently updated, because the IRS, banks, and other financial institutions may hesitate to honor a power of attorney that is more than three years old.

4. Healthcare Directives and HIPAA Authorization

Healthcare Directives, also known as Advanced Directives

Healthcare directives, which are also called medical directives or living wills, are a document that specifies the type of medical and personal care a person wants if they lose the ability to make and communicate their own decisions. Healthcare directives are often included as part of a durable power of attorney for healthcare.

Anyone over the age of 18 may execute a healthcare directive, and this document is legally binding in Missouri. A healthcare directive can specify who will make and communicate medical decisions in the event of incapacity, and it can set out the circumstances under which life-prolonging treatment would be denied. For example, a person may want to have an advance directive to deny treatment if they are ever in a permanent coma with no reasonable chance of recovery.

A document that usually accompanies an advance directive is an HIPAA Authorization to your medical providers that allows specified individuals, who could be friends or family members, access to medical information. Without this type of prior written authorization, doctors are prohibited from disclosing confidential medical information. Creating a healthcare directive takes the weight of decision-making off of your spouse’s or loved one’s shoulders. You decide what type of care you want, freeing your spouse, children, or other loved ones from that burden.

Creating an Estate Plan Is an Act of Love

Comprehensive estate planning is an act of love for your loved ones by making your intentions clear, protecting your hard earned assets for the future and family, and ensuring a smooth transfer process when you are gone.  The Law Office of Mark McMullin is here to guide you through the estate planning process, ensuring that your plan reflects your unique needs and preferences. Book a call with our office to start crafting your estate plan in Cape Girardeau, MO.

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Plan Now, Protect Later

Ready to secure your future based on your goals and not the government’s or a nursing home’s? Let’s outline your wishes and intentions with a clear plan.