Offering practical advice for estate planning and litigation.
Frank J. Schmidt brings a wealth of experience, particularly in estate planning and trust & estate litigation, to his greater St. Louis area law firm. That experience helps him guide the firm’s clients toward pragmatic solutions, taking all factors into account to achieve the best result possible.
“Even after 20-plus years in the practice of law, the underlying principles for the way I help my clients hasn’t changed,” Frank notes. “My interest is in helping business owners and their families. I want to ensure that their successors are taken care of in the event something unexpected happens in their lives or to their health.”
For Frank that often means proactively addressing issues before they can become problems.
“One of the most common problems I see is not adapting the closely held business structure or personal estate plan documents to changing family circumstances,” he says. “The change may be as simple as it’s now 10 years later and the children or teenagers now have young adult issues and lives for the older generation to plan for and support.”
Regularly updating last wills, revocable trusts and powers of attorney can also help keep misunderstandings between surviving adult children from turning into pitched legal battles later. Such updates can also address changes in statutes or case law that occur over time.
Frank offers the example of beneficiary deed for real estate, which can be seen as a simple and effective way to pass property outside of the probate process to multiple surviving children or family members, but which can then leave control and ultimate disposition of the real estate in limbo if the beneficiaries do not get along and have differing opinions on how to use the property they inherited.
Another frequent issue Frank is seeing that can exacerbate disputes between surviving family members after a death in the family is the proliferation of legal forms on the Internet.
“Anybody can download a last will or other legal “template” and fill it in, but the benefit that an attorney can provide is a full explanation of what a last will can or cannot accomplish for person and his/her heirs and loved ones after they are gone. We are here to help individuals understand the contingencies and practical consequences that online legal forms do not cover or explain,” he says.
Frank and his partners at Schmidt Basch, LLC, use a straightforward approach to help their clients navigate complex legal issues so they can get back to living their lives.
“While some attorneys may only tell a client that, ‘We are going to go, fight, win,’ I will often tell clients that at the same time they have to understand what that approach might mean for them in terms of their time and the substantial cost & attorneys’ fees investment many months or years later,“ Frank explains.
In addition to the areas of trusts & estates, both planning and litigation, the attorneys at Schmidt Basch, LLC provide legal assistance and representation for all manners of both real estate and business transactions & disputes.