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Clayton Attorney

Dear Residents of Clayton,

As the new year approaches, I wanted to take this time to wish you and your family, relatives, and friends best wishes this upcoming year.  Looking back on this past year, I personally had one of the best years of my life although it was filled with a lot of scariness and really hard times.   My wife Devin gave birth to our first child, Lydia Kay, and Lydia is absolutely wonderful as is my wife as always.  However, Devin became really sick with something called HELLP syndrome during her pregnancy.   HELLP syndrome sounds like it should be a good thing but obviously whoever came up with the name should have worked a little harder on it because it should have been called something like BAD syndrome with all the apprehension and scariness it caused.  Thankfully, Devin and baby Lydia are back home doing great due in huge measure to the hard work and patience of the nurses, doctors, and support staff at Saint John’s Mercy Hospital.  It is still very painful to bring up for me, but I think it brings up such an important issue that it needs to be mentioned.

The whole experience got me thinking about the frailty of life and how lucky we are to be here on this earth and how so many people put off doing things they know they should be doing like cleaning the gutters, mowing the lawn, or just spending time saying thank you to people that have helped us over the year.  One of the biggest areas people usually neglect is preparing an estate plan or will for their family so if something does happen to them their family, relatives, friends, or whoever people choose to protect can be protected if the unfortunate happens.  I’m not sure why people put this off, but I do have a theory.  People just don’t like thinking or even mentioning death, or they think that somehow talking about it will cause them to die or get really sick.  I hate to be the one to bring this up but it has been said many times that there is only two sure things in this life: death and taxes.  At some point, you are going to die and I do not think preparing an estate plan is going to somehow cause that to happen faster.  Having an estate plan helps you with both things everyone has to deal with: death and taxes.  If you die or get really sick without an estate plan, your family, friends, or whoever you really care about is going to pay for it.  There are probate and administration costs, tax implications, and (dare I say) attorney fees if you die without a will.  We’ll be happy to try and help you sort this out through a process called probate if someone you know has been unlucky enough to die intestate (i.e. without a will or estate plan).  However, why put your friends, family, and loved ones through something that will most likely cost them more than the costs associated with getting an estate plan put together in the first place?

I have found that a lot of people do not want to hire an attorney until they really need an attorney.  At that point, it usually ends up costing them a lot more money in attorney fees, headaches, and other nightmares.  They end up angry at the lawyer because they feel like they got over-charged, and the lawyer feels overworked and underappreciated because he or she is scrambling to prepare emergency motions.  Waiting to hire a lawyer until you know you really need a lawyer seems to me to be the reason people are so reluctant to hire lawyers in the first place which is completely counterintuitive.  However, if you are smart and plan ahead, hiring a lawyer to prepare an estate plan can be one of the wisest decisions you have ever made.  It will help your loved ones and probably save them a lot of money and headaches down the road, and it will make people less reluctant to hire lawyers in the first place because both sides are getting a fair deal.  You agree to pay a reasonable fee to have a lawyer prepare an estate plan.  They save your loved ones a lot of money and headaches down the road, and everyone wins.

It is my firm belief that everyone should have an estate plan put together.   To really protect someone, it is not as simple as getting on your word processor and typing up a document that says will.  Further, I know there are websites out there that promise to prepare a will for you for a small fee.  Please be warned.  There are a lot of steps that should be taken and a lot of documents that should be prepared to ensure that the people you really care about are protected if you die or get really sick, and I really want to make sure that all the steps are followed to protect your loved ones if the unfortunate happens.

If you have New Year’s resolutions, I would encourage you to put preparing an estate plan at the top of the list if you do not already have one.  Obviously, I would like you to talk with me first if you currently do not have an estate plan or will.   However, I am in no way forcing you or requiring you to do so.  There are a lot of great attorneys in Clayton and Saint Louis in general that would be more than happy to help prepare an estate plan for you.   If you already have a lawyer that you really know and trust, talk with him or her about this importance of preparing an estate plan and see if they can prepare one for you.

The most common reservation I hear about estate plans is that they sound expensive.  I do not know how many times I have had someone come up to me and say I need a will.  A will is great, and I encourage you to get one if you do not already have one or an estate plan.  However, I typically tell clients what you really should have is an estate plan to protect your loved ones, and I start talking about all the documents they really should have.  I sometimes see people’s eyes roll back, and I know they are thinking boy what is this going to cost me.   I tell them straight out that no one is forcing you to put a full estate plan together today.  However, it is my responsibility to tell you what I think you really should have, and I take that responsibility very seriously.  If you do not feel comfortable or it is too expensive to put together an estate plan, I completely understand.  If you only want to prepare certain documents, I will be happy to do that too because the documents I will prepare for you are going to help you and are hopefully going to encourage you to one day get a full estate plan.

Strange accidents can and do happen every day.  I was unfortunate enough during this last year to know of a relative who had one of the strangest accidents I have ever heard of and they passed away suddenly and far too young.  I cannot predict the future.  However, I believe that if you come to me and I talk to you honestly and openly about an estate plan that even if you choose not to hire me to do anything that someone you know is going to die or get sick suddenly. Then, you are going to come back to me and say I think I need an estate plan now, and I will be happy to do one for you.  If you want to sit down and talk about an estate plan, I will be happy to arrange one half hour complimentary consultation.  Call me at 1-888-888-0020 or visit to fill out a contact submission form.

Kind Regards and All the Best,

Brian Mueller

Attorney at Law

Lexstop Law Firm LLC




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