Estate Planning, Living Trusts, and Wills

Since the firm’s founding in 1984, Rogers, Ehrhardt, Weber & Howard has offered estate planning services to its local Columbia, Missouri, clients.  The addition of Principals James Howard and Andrew Bach has allowed the firm to expand this practice area and offer these services statewide.  Regardless of the size or complexity of your estate, upon death, there are three (3) basic paths than can be taken to distribute your assets:

1) No Estate Plan

Without any estate planning in place, upon death, assets are distributed by the Probate Court pursuant to state law. These proceedings are public and the estate must cover all court costs and fees. This process can take years depending on the size of the estate, but at a minimum will usually take six-nine months to resolve.

2) Will

A properly prepared Will does not avoid Probate Court, but rather directs the Court on how the assets are to be distributed.  The estate remains responsible for all costs, the terms of the Will are made part of the pubic record, and the time involved may either increase or decrease depending on any disputes that may arise.

3) Revocable Living Trust

A Revocable Living Trust, if properly executed and funded, can avoid Probate Court, and its costs, entirely.  Assets are normally distributed within a few weeks or perhaps months, and the terms of the estate distribution remain private.  A Revocable Living Trust can be changed at any time and you retain complete control over your assets during your lifetime.


If you would like more information on these options and other Estate Planning documents such as Advanced Medical Directives and Powers of Attorney, please contact us to arrange a free consultation at (573) 442-0131 or