On February 16, 2011, Matthew Rossiter moderated the Sixth Annual Fiduciary Litigation Seminar, and also presented the Annual Update on the Law. Over 100 attorneys were in attendance.

On November 3, 2010, Jamie Boock successfully obtained a verdict after a jury trial against the City of St. Louis for failing to timely repair a dangerous condition on a City of St. Louis road which resulted in a one-car accident. Defendants made no offer to settle before trial.

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Estate Planning, Probate and Trust Administration:

Estate Planning

An estate plan allows you to protect and control the distribution of your assets. The term “estate plan” refers to a collection of documents that work together to accomplish an individual’s wealth planning and transfer objectives. For most people, these documents will be a Will, a Living Trust, a Durable Power of Attorney, and a Healthcare Power of Attorney. Together, these documents provide you with the means to direct how your assets will be distributed during your life, during any period of disability, and after your death. People with more complex estate planning issues may also require an irrevocable life insurance trust, a special needs trust, or lifetime gifting plans.

Many people mistakenly believe that they do not need an estate plan because they do not have a large estate. The truth is that almost everyone can benefit from some estate planning. A will gives you control over who receives your assets and can minimize court involvement with the administration of your estate. A trust allows you to pass your assets completely outside the probate process, thus avoiding the additional time and expense that can accompany probate administration. Finally, powers of attorney let you direct how your financial and healthcare decisions will be made in the event that you become incompetent or disabled.

At Rossiter & Boock, we will work with you to create an estate plan that meets your unique personal and family needs. Our attorneys have drafted hundreds of estate plans, and we have the knowledge and expertise you need to guide you through making the important decisions involved in crafting your estate plan. Estate planning is important, but it does not have to be a painful process. With our individualized approach, we make estate planning understandable and efficient.

Probate Administration

When a person dies, an estate often needs to be opened in the probate court to transfer title of the decedent’s assets to heirs or beneficiaries. Probate administration is necessary when a person dies with assets titled solely in their name, whether they have a will or not. During probate administration, a personal representative is appointed for the estate, who then collects and distributes the deceased individual’s assets and resolves any claims against the estate.

At Rossiter & Boock, we have extensive experience in probate administration. Our attorneys and paralegals are highly specialized in probate law, and can provide you with the assistance you need. If you have been named or wish to be appointed personal representative of an estate, we can help you with the estate administration. If you are an heir, beneficiary, or creditor, we can explain your rights and help protect your interests in the estate. Whatever your probate needs may be, we can help you.

Guardianships and Conservatorships

If a person is unable to handle their own affairs, whether it is because they are a minor or because they are incapacitated, the court may appoint a guardian or conservator to manage their affairs for them. A guardian is often appointed for a minor child whose parents cannot provide them with care, or for persons whose mental or physical state is such that they cannot effectively care for themselves. A conservator is appointed when a person is incapable of handling their financial affairs. A conservator is often needed when a minor child receives a large sum of money, or when a person is mentally incapacitated such that they cannot understand or manage their own finances.

The attorneys at Rossiter & Boock frequently handle matters relating to guardianships and conservatorships. We have tried complex guardianship cases affecting the interests of high net worth families. We can help you become or appoint a guardian or conservator for a friend or relative, and we will assist you with the ongoing court process after becoming a guardian or conservator. We can also help you if you already have a guardian or conservator, with matters such as terminating the guardianship or conservatorship, changing the restrictions/freedoms in place, or removing your current guardian or conservator. Additionally, if you believe a guardian or conservator has abused their powers and taken advantage of you or a loved one, we can help you obtain the relief you deserve.

Trust Administration

When a trustee is appointed for a trust, it is their duty to administer the trust in accordance with the trust’s terms and in accordance with the law. Many different issues requiring legal assistance can arise during the administration of a trust, whether you are a trustee or a beneficiary. Some examples include: interpreting provisions of a trust, the resignation/appointment of a trustee, preparing trust accountings for beneficiaries, the termination of a trust, requesting information from the trustee, or even modifying the terms of a trust.

Whether you are a trustee or a beneficiary, the attorneys at Rossiter & Boock can help you with any issue that may arise during the administration. We understand trust law and can advise you and assist you in accomplishing your goals, often without court involvement. If you are a trustee, we can advise you and ensure that you are fulfilling your duties during the administration and termination of a trust. If you are a beneficiary, we can advise you on your legal rights. At Rossiter & Boock, we have handled countless issues involving trusts, and we will use that expertise to help you achieve the result you desire and deserve.

DISCLAIMER: Neither the Supreme Court of Missouri nor the Missouri Bar reviews or approves certifying organizations or specialist designations. The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements.