What Practice Areas do you Focus On?

Law firms typically focus on specific areas of the law called practice areas. Our primary practice areas are Estate Planning (Wills & Trusts) and Elder Law (medicaid planning & asset protection). We’ve chosen to limit our practice areas to better serve our clients. After all, if you wouldn’t go to an orthopedic doctor for a heart condition. Likewise in the law, most people would think twice before having their divorce attorney prepare a trust.

Practice Areas of Law Office of Mark McMullin
Practice Areas of Law Office of Mark McMullin

The Missouri Bar has Rules of Professional Conduct which we follow. One of the rules (Rule 4-7.4) states that “a lawyer shall not state or imply that the lawyer is a specialist unless the communication contains a disclaimer that neither the Supreme Court of Missouri nor The Missouri Bar reviews or approves certifying organizations or specialist designations.” So most Missouri attorneys choose not to use the word “specialist”.

OUr PRactice AReas

What I will tell you is that for the past 5 years, my practice has been focused on two areas of law: estate planning and elder law. Often people refer to me as an “Estate Planning Attorney”. My firm is built to handle estate planning and elder law cases. You’ll notice that right away – it guides how we answer the phone, how we schedule appointments, and how work flows through our office. If you have another type of case (for example: a divorce) we’ll gladly refer you to another attorney in the area who handles that type of law. That said, if you are looking for an attorney to help you:

  • Get your affairs in order,
  • Prepare a Last Will & Testament,
  • Create a Living Trust,
  • Protect your life savings, or
  • Help you qualify for Medicaid

We are happy to help you. Just call to schedule an initial consultation.

Introducing Cape Crucible Inc. – A Nonprofit Makerspace in Cape Girardeau

makerspace: noun (mākərˌspās) sometimes also referred to as hackerspace, hackspace, and fablab, a place where people with shared interests, especially in computing or technology, can gather to work on projects while sharing ideas, equipment, and knowledge.

Good things are happening in downtown Cape. It began with the award winning renovation of Broadway (http://goo.gl/eHTpPR) and has continued as many new businesses have opened up shop. I’m very excited for the next phase of development in downtown Cape, the Marquette Tech District (http://goo.gl/JlUquW and http://goo.gl/9PGZxm).

Cape Crucible Inc. - Logo
Cape Crucible Inc. – Logo

As part of that development, I have been able to assist a new Makerspace with getting off the ground, including setting up a Missouri Nonprofit Corporation for them. I invite you to get to know Cape Crucible Inc. (https://www.facebook.com/capecrucible/) and see the cool things they are doing.


4 Ways Flat Fee Billing Benefits Estate Planning Clients

When possible (and most of the time it is possible), we charge our clients flat fees for estate planning work. That way, our clients will know exactly how much it will cost to have their will, trust, or other estate planning documents prepared.

A Canadian court had this to say about legal services, “A person requiring legal advice does not set out to buy time. Rather the object of the exercise is to buy services.” Our focus is on delivering you the services you want, in the most efficient manner possible.

We prefer flat fees for 4 main reasons:

  1. Flat Fees Creates Predictability for the Client. Before you choose what services to have us perform, you will know what it will cost. This is much better than receiving a bill in the mail after the fact and being surprised at the number of hours a project took.
  2. Flat Fees Incentivize us to Work Efficiently. Under the billable hour model, attorneys have a disincentive to leverage past work. Sometimes, you even see attorney’s reinventing the wheel simply because they get to charge for the time they spend “reinventing”. With flat fees, our focus is on working efficiently to provide you with the services and outcome you desire.
  3. Flat Fees Focus on Value. Our focus is on delivering value to each and every one of our clients. Value means delivering peace of mind today and saving time, money, and energy in the future.
  4. Flat Fees Lead to Early Assessment and Evaluation of Case. Before entering into a flat fee billing agreement, we will thoroughly assess the matter. We will review and evaluate each known step in the process, determine how much work will be required, and what contingencies may arise. Our flat fee will reflect the amount of work required, the complexity of the matter, the skill set needed, and the value provided. The benefit to you is that you get a clear picture at the beginning of the case, rather than when are half way through the matter.

Flat fees are just another way we deliver value to our estate planning clients throughout Missouri. To learn more, feel free to contract our Cape Girardeau office at 573-334-5125.

The Benefits of Beneficiary Deeds in Missouri

One of the most common instruments I prepare for clients is a Beneficiary Deed.

What exactly is a Beneficiary Deed?
A Beneficiary Deed, allows an owner of real estate to execute a deed that names a beneficiary who will own the property after the death of the owner without going through probate.

During the owner’s lifetime, the owner retains full power and control over the property. The Beneficiary Deed must be recorded before the death of the owner to have effect. The property owner can make changes to a Beneficiary Deed at any time by recording a subsequent Beneficiary deed.

For example, John owns a primary residence in Missouri. John wants his son to inherit the residence if he dies. John signs and records a Beneficiary Deed, effective upon his death, naming the son as beneficiary. When John dies, assuming he still owns the home, the son has to only record a death certificate and the property is his. During John’s lifetime, the son has no rights to the property. John may sell the property without permission of his son.

Greystone Ridge prior to development. Cape Girardeau County, Missouri.

Benefits of using Beneficiary Deed:
The primary reason for using a Beneficiary Deed is to avoid Probate after the death of the owner. Probate is a court-supervised process and hence is complex, time consuming and expensive. The Probate process usually takes 6 months and costs much more than executing a Beneficiary Deed.

A Beneficiary Deed allows the owner to retain/enjoy full ownership of the property until death.

Revision or changes to a Beneficiary Deed can be made easily through revocation or subsequent filing.

There is no consideration needed when creating a Beneficiary Deed.

Beneficiary Deeds may reduce future tax burdens by taking advantage of a “step-up” in basis.
Why choose a Beneficiary Deed instead of a Joint Deed?
Some people file a Joint Deed to add heirs to the property. Doing so has a few pitfalls. For Example, Mary owns a property that she bought for $200,000 which is now worth $400,000. Mary adds her daughter on the deed as a joint tenant. Now the daughter owns a portion of the house. Mary can’t sell the property without the daughter’s consent/signature. If Mary had owned the house in her own name and sold the house there would be no income tax. Now since she owns the house jointly with her daughter, the daughter could also be liable to State/Federal taxes. Also if the daughter has any debt/bankruptcy, lawsuits, or judgments against her, the creditor can file a lien or force the sale of the house. This can be avoided by filing a Beneficiary Deed naming the daughter as the Beneficiary. The property transfers to the daughter only upon the death of the mother.
A Beneficiary Deed does not act as a cloud on title when selling the home to a third party.

Missouri is one of a handful of states in the country where a Beneficiary Deed can be executed and it has become an easy and convenient estate planning tool for clients. A beneficiary deed is an easy and cost effective way to avoid probate. So when utilized correctly Beneficiary Deeds offer the owner of real estate one of the easiest, most beneficial ways of transferring property to a specified beneficiary outside of probate or a trust.

Local Courthouse Locations and Phone Numbers

In Missouri, each county has a courthouse, but some counties (like Cape Girardeau) have multiple county courthouses, plus a federal courthouse, as well as a municipal court. Here is the contact information for each of these courthouses as well as county courthouses in the surrounding counties.

Cape Girardeau County Courthouse Locations

Cape Girardeau County Courthouse
100 Court Street
Jackson, MO 63755
(573) 243-1755


Common Pleas Courthouse
44 North Lorimier, Ste. 1
Cape Girardeau, MO 63701
Cape Girardeau City Courthouse Location
(573) 335-8253

Other Cape Girardeau Courthouses

Federal Court (includes Bankruptcy Court)
Rush Hudson Limbaugh Sr. U.S. Courthouse
599 Independence St.
Cape Girardeau, MO 63703

Municipal Court
City of Cape Girardeau
401 Independence
Cape Girardeau, MO 63703
(573) 339-6323

Nearby Courthouses

Scott County Courthouse
P.O. Box 587
Benton, MO 63736
(573) 545-3596

Bollinger County Courthouse
204 High Street
Marble Hill, MO 63764
Perry County Courthouse Location
(573) 238-1900

Perry County Courthouse
15 West Sainte Marie
Perryville, MO 63775
(573) 547-6581

New Madrid County Courthouse
450 Main Street
New Madrid, MO 63869
(573) 748-2228

Contact Information

Mark - headshot

My contact information is:
Attorney Mark McMullin
Law Office of Mark McMullin
2007 Independence St.
Cape Girardeau, MO 63703
573-334-5125 – Office


About Mark

Southeast Missouri is my home. I grew up in Scott City, Cape Girardeau, and Jackson. After practicing law in Columbia, Missouri, I had the opportunity to return home and practice in the area where I grew up.

My Bachelor of Science degree is in Finance from Brigham Young University. After finishing my undergraduate degree, I worked as an Accountant for the Capital Group of Companies (American Mutual Funds) in Irvine, California. There I was on the Global Institutions Operations Team. I performed asset reconciliations on multi-billion dollar accounts for some of the nation’s largest institutional investors. Yet, the difficulty with large institutional investors is that you never have the opportunity to meet your clients and see the difference you are making in the lives of individuals. So I decided that practicing law would give me the opportunity he wanted of being able to make a positive impact on people’s lives.

I attended the University of Missouri law school. While at Mizzou Law I was recognized as a Top 10 Oralist in Moot Court and for receiving the highest grades in Appellate Advocacy and Professional Responsibility. And with my background in finance I had the unique opportunity during my third year of law school to teach Finance 2000 (an undergraduate finance class) at Mizzou. I am proud of the fact that during my second semester teaching Finance 2000, I was recognized as Outstanding Finance Instructor based on student evaluations.

Being able to help people solve problems is enjoyable. Whether that problem solving uses my law license or background in finance, or some combination of both, I get great satisfaction out of being able to help individuals like you.