Attorney Mark McMullin has years of experience in probate and the complicated process that can be involved. Please contact our office to arrange an initial consultation.
Missouri has a simplified probate process for small estates that meet certain qualifications. This process allows you to cut down on the time and costs of probate.
There are two forms of condensed probate proceedings in Missouri:
- RSMO 473.090 (“letters of refusal”)
- This involves estates of $15,000 or less
- RSMO 473.097 (“Small Estates”)
- This involves estates of $40,000 or less
This process usually requires the beneficiary of the estate to file an affidavit in the Probate Division describing the decedent’s property, setting out the names and addresses of the individuals entitled to receive the property, and state all unpaid debts of the decedent will be paid. It usually takes the probate court 7-30 days to issue a decree.
Missouri law sets forth the minimum fees for attorneys in probate cases. See Section 473.153. Attorneys collect a percent of the personal property administered and of the proceeds of all real property sold under order of the probate court. The following table shows the minimum fees as of June 2013.
|On the first $5,000||5%|
|On the next $20,000||4%|
|On the next $75,000||3%|
|On the next $300,000||2.75%|
|On the next $600,000||2.5%|
|On all over $1,000,000||2%|
It is important to remember that you will be working with the probate attorney for 6 months to a year. You not only need to choose an experienced probate attorney but also one with whom you will be able to work well. At Moss, Stillwell & Surratt we pride ourselves on being professional while making sure that our clients feel comfortable. We are happy to meet with you for a free consultation during which time you can see if we are a good fit for you.
You should also know that Attorney Bob Stillwell is a former probate judge. He adds a tremendous amount of experience and wisdom to our probate team.
The earliest that an estate may be closed and distribution made to the heirs or beneficiaries is approximately six months and 10 days after the date of first publication. However, it often takes a year or more to finish the administration.
- 1. Hire an attorney to represent you.
- 2. Apply for Letters Testamentary if there is a will admitted (or apply for Letters of Administration without a will).
- 3. Publish notice to creditors. The date of first publication starts a six-month period for claimants to submit their claims to the court and the personal representative.
- 4. Inventory and appraise assets.
- 5. Administer the estate and sell property if funds are needed to pay bills.
- 6. Pay debts, claims, taxes, and expenses.
- 7. Prepare a settlement showing income and disbursements.
- 8. Obtain court approval for distribution and close estate.
Missouri law governing probate is found in Sections 472-275 of Missouri Revised Statutes. In there is no will, state law determines how the individual’s assets are distributed. See Section 474.010 for a list of beneficiaries. If a married individual, with children dies, the first $20,000 of the estate goes to his spouse with the remainder of the estate being split equally between the decedent’s spouse and children.
The decedent’s property is held and managed by the personal representative during the administration of the estate. The personal representative makes distribution of the estate when the probate court approves the transactions made to pay claims and expenses and the proposed distribution schedule.
The administration of any probate estate involves the payment of certain expenses. The expenses usually encountered in the average estate fall into four main categories.
- Bond Premiums
- Costs of Publication
- Court Costs
- Personal Representative’s Commission and Attorney’s Fees