Aull, Sherman, Worthington, Giorza & Hamilton, L.L.C. Lafayette County, Missouri Attorney | Family Law | Personal Injury | Estate Planning | Probate 2023-09-29T04:54:26Z WordPress /wp-content/uploads/sites/1602185/2020/12/cropped-site-identity-32x32.png On Behalf of Aull, Sherman, Worthington, Giorza & Hamilton, L.L.C. <![CDATA[Understanding ancillary probate and how it works]]> 2023-08-21T22:43:30Z 2023-08-21T22:43:30Z The domiciliary state has no jurisdiction Even though the estate's executor must initiate the ancillary probate process from the domiciliary state, the latter has no official legal role. Nevertheless, state courts often cooperate with one another when an executor identifies out-of-state property and files ancillary probate. Other states often readily accept a so-called foreign will once the domiciliary state has accepted it. This acceptance helps shorten the overall probate proceeding as the executor doesn't have to apply for another authorization. Ancillary probate can become expensive if courts do not cooperate with one another or when a person dies intestate. It can become complicated if a loved one dies intestate or without a will, as the laws governing intestate assets can differ between the states involved.

Can my heirs avoid ancillary probate?

Careful crafting of your estate plan may help your heirs avoid ancillary probate. One way to avoid probate is to put any out-of-state property in a living trust, as these assets do not have to go through probate.

What ancillary probate includes

Real estate, such as a second home, farms and businesses, must undergo the ancillary probate process. Other items can include vehicles, livestock and rights to oil, gas or other natural resources. Another way to avoid ancillary probate is to retitle property located in other states, so you and your desired heir hold the title as joint tenants with the rights of survivorship. The other individual automatically inherits the asset upon your death. However, 28 states make it easier for beneficiaries to inherit property as they allow the transfer of real property without a probate proceeding. If you have property in other states, carefully consider who you want to inherit those assets. Remember that no designation is set in stone and may be changed anytime.]]>
On Behalf of Aull, Sherman, Worthington, Giorza & Hamilton, L.L.C. <![CDATA[Estate planning as a new parent]]> 2023-05-23T00:56:43Z 2023-05-23T00:56:43Z Last will and testament A last will and testament is an essential part of estate planning as a new parent. In addition to being able to name an executor to handle their estate, parents can name a guardian for their child. This ensures that the minor child has someone trusted to care for them if both parents suddenly pass away.

Powers of attorney

New parents can benefit by creating both financial and healthcare powers of attorney. These legal documents allow parents to name agents who will handle financial and healthcare matters, respectively, if they are incapacitated and unable to personally tend to them in the future.

Buy life insurance

All new parents need life insurance to protect their child’s future. Things can happen unexpectedly and parents might need extra money to pay for necessities for their child. However, life insurance also adds an extra layer of security that ensures that a child is financially secure if a parent unexpectedly passes away.

Beneficiary designations

Parents can take further steps to secure their financial matters by creating or updating their beneficiary designations. Although it might be tempting to name their minor child, the best thing to do is to name the person chosen as their guardian to hold the funds from life insurance policies, retirement accounts and investment accounts for them.


Many parents choose to include trusts in their estate plans. A revocable trust allows them to manage assets and property used to fund it and can be changed throughout the person’s lifetime. The parent can hold things they intend to leave to their child within. A named trustee takes over after the person’s death and ensures that the property is distributed as they wanted. As a new parent, your goal is always to ensure that your child has the best future. These tools are important parts of an estate plan to do just that.]]>
On Behalf of Aull, Sherman, Worthington, Giorza & Hamilton, L.L.C. <![CDATA[Overcoming your fears during a divorce]]> 2023-02-21T03:26:43Z 2023-02-21T03:26:43Z Concerns about your children’s future Talking to your soon-to-be ex-spouse may be the best way to overcome your fears about your children. You both want what is best for them, so try to negotiate until you reach an agreement. Mediation may keep your divorce from going through a lengthy court battle, which could have a negative impact on your children.

Losing assets

Many people going through a divorce fear losing what they have worked hard to accumulate. Missouri is an equitable distribution state, so if your divorce goes to court, the judge will divide your property fairly but not equally. Therefore, if there are things that you want to keep, consider using arbitration to settle your divorce.

Loss of identity

Many married people have put their spouse first for so long that they have forgotten that they have their own identities. Instead of fearing losing your identity as someone’s spouse, concentrate on rediscovering your own identity. Journaling about your dreams can be a handy tool for rediscovering what you want out of life and what you need to do to achieve it. Journaling can also help you acknowledge and overcome your fears about the divorce and your life going forward.

Losing Family

Many people have accepted their spouse’s family as their own. Remember that these people are still related to your children and that having a relationship with them is OK. While you may want to give them some space initially, talk to them to see if they still want to be your friends. Most will welcome that they can keep up with you, especially if children are involved. Facing your fears can be challenging during a divorce, but you can find healthy ways to move on with your life.]]>
On Behalf of Aull, Sherman, Worthington, Giorza & Hamilton, L.L.C. <![CDATA[A DUI’s impact on careers]]> 2022-11-14T19:51:49Z 2022-11-14T19:51:49Z A DUI's job impact Some professionals must maintain a clean driving record to remain employed or be hired. Anyone working as a commercial driver might suffer far-reaching consequences after a DUI. These individuals may range from full-time commercial truck drivers to persons relying on side income from rideshare work. A DUI may disqualify them from these jobs. Even those in professions outside of driving-related ones may run into trouble. Many would-be employers run background checks on prospective employees. If the search reveals a DUI arrest, the person may face disqualification from consideration. Official arrest and conviction records are not the only concerning sources. Mentions on websites, blogs and other online sources might undermine a jobseeker's chances. Employers could develop unfair impressions about someone who made a one-time mistake. Others might fear the application represents a liability risk. Current employees may lose their jobs over such concerns. So, fighting DUI charges might be in someone's best interest.

DUI charges

Although an arrest could prove harmful to someone’s career, dismissing charges or a not-guilty verdict might mitigate some problems. Defendants should realize that not all arrests for DUI offenses lead to convictions. Sometimes, police misconduct, including the lack of probable cause for a traffic stop, may undermine the charges. A criminal defense approach could point out any wrongdoing. Improper breathalyzer calibrations and officer errors may further erode a prosecutor's case. These and other issues, such as false positives, might make a difference in court.]]>
On Behalf of Aull, Sherman, Worthington, Giorza & Hamilton, L.L.C. <![CDATA[What happens if you die intestate?]]> 2022-08-23T20:23:26Z 2022-08-22T20:22:09Z Probate is likely for your estate Far too many people are under the mistaken impression that they can avoid the process of probate by not having a will. But this is wholly untrue. The reality is that it doesn't matter if you have a will or not. The court will still order probate to take place to distribute all of your assets. The only real difference that takes place is that if you have a will you can have a say in how your assets are divided among your survivors. If there is no will, the decision will have to be made by a court. This will be the case whether or not you had an estate plan. Both probate and estate administration will be handled by a court.

What happens if you don't leave a will?

If you should pass without an estate plan or will, you will be intestate. This means that you give the court power by default to decide how your estate will be handled. A set of intestacy succession laws will govern how the process is handled. A person who creates a will is entitled to name an executor for their estate. This is the person who will oversee the process of carrying out all of your wishes with regard to your assets. If you don't have a will, a person will have to step in and petition the court to fill this role. While the end result may be largely the same, it will almost always take the court longer to get there if you don't have a will. You are much better off having an official will in place to expedite the process.]]>
On Behalf of Aull, Sherman, Worthington, Giorza & Hamilton, L.L.C. <![CDATA[Creating a parenting plan that works for all parties in Missouri]]> 2022-05-26T04:00:13Z 2022-05-26T04:00:13Z Make a parenting plan right away Many divorcing couples in Missouri choose to wait until they have hammered out the details of their divorce before they make a parenting plan. This can be a mistake. Your children need stability and routine, especially during such a difficult time. It's best to sit down with your spouse and develop a parenting plan as soon as possible.

Be willing to compromise

It's important to remember that you're not the only one going through this divorce. Your spouse is going through it too, and so are your children. Therefore, you will have to be willing to compromise on some things. For example, if you want joint child custody but your spouse wants sole custody, you may have to meet in the middle and agree to shared custody.

Don't forget the details

To have a rock-solid parenting plan, you must include all the details regarding your child's needs. This includes things like what time your children will be picked up and dropped off, where they will spend holidays and weekends, and the amount of child support you will pay or receive.

Consider the best interests of your children

Above all else, when making your parenting plan, you must respect your children's needs. This means doing what is best for their emotional and physical well-being. For example, if your child has a close relationship with their grandparents, you may want to include them in your parenting plan. Or if they are teenagers, they may want to stay in the same school with friends they've already made. Divorce is already hard enough, don't make things tougher by not working on a parenting plan that's best for your children and you as parents. Don't think of it as winning or losing, but rather as a way of ensuring your children survive and thrive regardless of what's going on between you two.]]>
On Behalf of Aull, Sherman, Worthington, Giorza & Hamilton, L.L.C. <![CDATA[What does an estate executor do in Missouri?]]> 2022-03-03T17:42:15Z 2022-02-25T17:35:06Z executor.

Who is an executor?

The executor is the person appointed by the will to manage the decedent's estate. If the will does not name an executor, the court may appoint someone to fill that role.

What does an executor do?

The first role of an executor is to file the will with the court. The executor must also publish a notice in the local newspaper informing creditors of the estate that they have a certain period of time to file a claim. Secondly, the executor must gather all of the assets of the estate and make a comprehensive list of them. The executor must then determine which debts the estate owes and pay them off. This may include bills, taxes, and funeral expenses. The executor may also need to sell assets to pay off these debts or meet important financial obligations. Finally, the executor distributes what's left of the estate to the beneficiaries named in the will.

What if there is no will?

If there is no will, the probate court may appoint an administrator to manage the estate. This person will have many of the same responsibilities as an executor, but may not be able to distribute the assets in the way that the deceased desired.

What if there are disputes among the beneficiaries?

If there are disputes among the beneficiaries, the executor may need to petition the court for guidance. The court will make a determination based on what it believes is in the best interest of the estate. It's common, for instance, for the court to make an order that the assets be sold and the proceeds distributed among the beneficiaries. Clearly, the executor has a lot of responsibility in probate. This is a big job and it's important to have someone qualified and capable of handling it. Remember that to become an executor, it's important to be a resident of the state in which the will is being probated. Also, you cannot be a beneficiary of the estate or have a felony conviction.]]>
On Behalf of Aull, Sherman, Worthington, Giorza & Hamilton, L.L.C. <![CDATA[When should you review your Missouri estate plan?]]> 2021-11-19T23:04:22Z 2021-11-19T23:04:22Z Why and when should you update it? Generally, people review their estate plans to reflect major life changes. That means, for instance, you may want to review your estate plan if you’ve experienced any changes to your family dynamics. For example, if you’ve just gotten married, you may want to ensure that your estate plan includes your new spouse. Similarly, you may want to remove your ex-spouse from the document if you’ve just divorced them. Secondly, if you have just had a child, or your new spouse has brought in kids from a previous relationship, you may want to include them as beneficiaries. Ultimately, your estate plan should include all your kids - whether adopted or biological. Thirdly, it’s a great idea to review your estate planning documents if you’ve recently relocated to a different state to make sure it’s compliant with the current state laws. If you’ve not moved, remember that tax laws may have changed in your state, and your estate plan should reflect that.

Is there a benchmark for the review?

It’s possible for your life to have little or no changes. To stay on the safe side, you can make it a habit to review the document after every five years. You should conduct this process with an attorney; they will help you assess your life, walk through your goals and assess whether your current estate plan reflects those goals sufficiently. With their help, you may find that you have to update some things that you wouldn’t otherwise consider on your own, such as the order of your trustees. The process of reviewing your estate plan is quite simple. However, always remember that failing to do it in a timely manner can attract many issues, such as assets ending up in the wrong hands.]]>
On Behalf of Aull, Sherman, Worthington, Giorza & Hamilton, L.L.C. <![CDATA[The consequences of refusing a chemical test in Missouri]]> 2021-09-13T16:24:18Z 2021-09-13T16:24:18Z Evidence of intoxication and search warrants While breath and blood test results are usually used to establish blood alcohol concentrations in DUI cases, they are not the only evidence of intoxication prosecutors have available. When drunk driving suspects refuse to take a chemical test, prosecutors could rely on the observations of the police officer involved or footage recorded by a dashboard camera to prove impairment. Police officers can also get the evidence they need without consent if they convince a judge to issue a warrant for a blood draw.

The consequences of refusing a breath test

Motorists in Missouri who refuse to take a breath test after being arrested for DUI lose their driving privileges for one year even if the criminal charges against them are dismissed. This is known as chemical revocation. They must also complete a substance abuse awareness course before their driver’s licenses are restored. An individual or their criminal defense attorney has 30 days to appeal a chemical revocation by filing a petition for review in the county where the arrest was made.

Plea negotiations

Refusing to submit to a breath or blood test in Missouri is not likely to lead to a drunk driving case being dropped, but it could make securing a favorable plea agreement more challenging. Criminal defense attorneys seek lenient treatment by painting their client’s actions in a more favorable light and mentioning mitigating factors like sincere remorse, but prosecutors could be less willing to make concessions when defendants have refused to cooperate.]]>
On Behalf of Aull, Sherman, Worthington, Giorza & Hamilton, L.L.C. <![CDATA[The Supreme Court rules to limit warrantless searches]]> 2021-06-11T21:43:48Z 2021-06-11T21:43:48Z The community caretaker exception The community caretaker exception became part of criminal law in 1973 when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that blood-stained clothing found during the warrantless search of a vehicle was admissible in court. The officer who discovered the clothing was looking for a gun at the time because the vehicle had been driven by a man who identified himself as a police officer. The officer decided to search the vehicle because it was going to be left in an unsecured area where cars had been broken into in the past. The justices ruled that the search was permissible because the police officer was acting as a community caretaker and not an investigator.

The Supreme Court limits the exception

The limits of the community caretaker exception were tested recently in a case involving a Rhode Island man. Police officers entered the man’s house and seized his firearms after learning that he had threatened to end his own life. When the case made its way to the Supreme Court, the justices voted unanimously to overturn a decision to dismiss the man’s lawsuit based on the community caretaker exception. The unanimous ruling makes it clear that the standards for searching a home are stricter than the standards for searching a vehicle.

Fourth Amendment motions to suppress

If you are charged with a crime and the most damaging evidence against you was discovered during a police search, an experienced criminal defense attorney may make a motion to suppress even if the officers involved had a warrant. This is because searches that appear legal could actually be unconstitutional if search warrants are based on questionable probable cause or the officers executing them exceeded limits put into place by the issuing judge.]]>