A Last Will & Testament serves as the foundation of many estate plans. Although many other methods now exist to transfer property on death, a Will is still a an important part of any estate plan. Use of a Will allows the naming of a personal representative (sometimes called an executor), waiving certain expensive or complex court rules, and for disposition of property, including gifts for long term support. This article will discuss some of the basic Will planning considerations to think about in planning your estate.

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There are many reasons why a person may desire to change his or her name. Whether due to family circumstances or otherwise, name changes have been a common occurrence throughout history. Did you know that Paul Revere was originally known as Appollo Rivoire? President Gerald Ford started life as Leslie King. More recently, President Bill Clinton was originally known as William Jefferson Blythe IV.

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We are often asked about methods to distribute property to client’s heirs without the need for probate. Once important way to keep real estate from being subjected to probate is the use of a beneficiary deed. Such deed allows the present owner of the real estate to maintain control of the real estate during his or her lifetime. Following his or her death the real estate can then pass directly to his or her heirs without the need of court involvement of probate.

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In 2018 Missouri passed a new comprehensive expungement law, which is now codified at 610.140 RSMo. Under the new law approximately 1,900 offenses can now be expunged. A petition to expunge a misdemeanor may be filed three (3) years after completion of any sentence or probation period. A petition to expunge a felony may be filed seven (7) years after completion of any sentence or probation period.

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A new custody law will take effect in Missouri on August 28, 2016, pursuant to HB 1550. The provisions have been reported to create a new presumption significantly favoring “equal” or “50/50” custodial time Judgments. For instance, a recent Missourian article states that the law is based on research showing that “shared parenting, or 50/50 custody” is best for children. The article further states that the law moves Missouri towards having equal custody as the norm, instead of the exception to the rule.

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Under Missouri law an adoption of a minor child by a step-parent is a two (2) step proceeding. First, the rights of the child’s natural parent who the adoptive step parent will be replacing must have his or her parental rights terminated. Second, following the termination of parental rights the court must find that the adoption is in the best interest of the child, and enter a judgment of adoption.

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An order of protection seeks an order protecting an individual from physical abuse, physical threats, stalking or harassment. Additionally, the Court may grant orders affecting numerous other rights of parties. This includes child custody, child support, maintenance (alimony) and property possession. RSMO Section 455.045 Given the vast array of relief that may be granted by the Court, and the fast-moving nature of the proceedings, having an attorney assist with your order of protection can be beneficial to the outcome of your case.

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Under Missouri law, a criminal charge of DWI or excessive b.a.c. often also carries the potential for additional civil penalties, notably the suspension or revocation of the subjects driver license. At the time of arrest for an alcohol related driving offenses in which a blood alcohol result of .08% or higher is obtained, the arresting officer will seize the subject’s driver’s license, and issue a notice of suspension to the driver.

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