Providing Over 40 Years of Combined Legal Expertise
We are an established firm of experienced attorneys emphasizing estate planning including wills, trusts, contested trusts and estates, living wills, living trusts, probate and trust administration, guardianships and conservatorships, federal estate and gift taxation, like kind exchanges, family wealth transfer, business law, business formation, business planning, business succession, contracts, buying and selling business, limited liability company law, professional corporations, limited partnerships, condemnation eminent domain, land use regulation and property rights, conservation and green space easements. You will find that our firm's many years of experience will be of great value as you make decisions relating to your particular situation.
During our office hours, you will speak with Laura or Deborah, rather than voice mail, who can direct you to an attorney who will be able to answer your questions or schedule a meeting to discuss your needs and concerns. Our mission is to deliver large firm service, while maintaining the personal attention expected of a small firm. We look forward to hearing from you.
223 North Third Street
St. Charles, MO 63301
Wills, Revocable Living Trusts, Health Care Power of Attorney (Living Wills) and Durable Powers of Attorney
The goal of estate planning is to provide for the accumulation, management and preservation of assets during your lifetime, and a plan for the distribution of your assets at the time of your passing. Additionally, proper and thorough estate planning will address the issues of disability or incapacity during lifetime. We stress this aspect of the process in every case situation. Estate planning, especially in more complicated cases, can involve the "team" approach that may involve you, your estate planning attorney, financial advisor, accountant or CPA, life insurance professional and personal banker. In cases where it is necessary, we will consult with your other advisors in order to develop comprehensive solutions.
It is critical that you establish short and long term goals for asset accumulation and preservation. Diversity in investment, insurance and proper tax planning is instrumental to provide for your financial future and security for you and your family members in the event of a disability or death.
A minimal estate plan should include a will, durable power of attorney for general purposes and a durable power of attorney for health care and health care directive. A will can name guardians for minor children, an administrator for your estate assets, percentage of distribution to your beneficiaries, as well as the age of distribution. A durable power of attorney will name an individual or entity to manage your financial and other general affairs in the event of your disability or incapacity. Durable powers attorney terminate upon your death. A durable power of attorney for health care and health care directive, also known as a "living will," names a person or persons to make decisions concerning your health care in the event you incapacitated and unable to make those decisions yourself.
Depending upon your goals, the nature and character of your assets, the dollar amount of your estate, and a desire to avoid probate, a more extensive estate plan may be required that involves the use of trusts. The value of your estate at the time of your death determines whether or not your estate is subject to estate tax. Depending on the size of your estate, federal and state death taxes can reduce your estate by as much as 50% of its total value over any exempt amount then provided for by law. Further, without proper planning, administration and probate fees could cost your estate unnecessary expense, depending upon the circumstances. Estate planning is essential to reduce the fees and costs to your estate in order to maximize the distribution to your beneficiaries.
As you can see there are many items to consider when preparing an estate plan. Will your estate be subject to estate tax? How can you minimize taxes on "qualified" assets? Have you named beneficiaries of your assets or will those assets allow a beneficiary designation? Can you avoid probate? Is probate avoidance necessary under a given set of facts? Have you named a person or entity to administer and distribute your assets upon your death? Are your beneficiaries minors? Is there a certain age that you wish your beneficiaries to receive the assets? Can your beneficiary manage his or her financial affairs? These are a few of the questions that would be addressed and answered at a consultation in our office. There are no "standard" or "stock" answers to these questions, as many believe. We prefer to handle a person's planning on an individualized basis, taking into account all relevant factors. The approach or solution will be different in some way, in every case.
In contacting our office for an appointment, you may request that our Client Information Worksheet be mailed to you. The Worksheet can be completed prior to a meeting so that your estate planning needs can be effectively addressed at that time. The Worksheet can also be accessed on this website by clicking on the tab located above at the left of this page. We find this to be a cost saving factor, as we wish to avoid billable office time asking essentially routine initial questions. Additionally, it is of paramount importance that we know all of the facts pertinent to your situation in order to provide you with proper advice for your personal estate.
-Trust and probate administration
-U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
-U.S. District Court, Eastern and Western Districts of Missouri
-U.S. Tax Court
-St. Louis University, J.D.
Associations & memberships
-Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis
-St. Charles County and St. Louis County Bar Associations
-The Missouri Bar (Chairman, Legislative Committee, 1985 - 1988)
-Estate Planning Council of St. Louis
-BV Distinguished Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell for professionalism and ethics.
-Pi Omicrom Sigma; Sigma Rho Sigma; Pi Sigma Alpha; Order of Woolsack
-Member: State Representative, District 52, 1979 - 1981; District 19, 1981-1984, Missouri House of Representatives by Special Election, 1979, reelected, 1980 and 1982
-Member, Missouri State Highway and Transportation Commission, 1989 - 1995
-President, Board of Trustees, St. Charles County Land Trust, Inc., 1998 - 2005
Thomas John Barklage received an undergraduate degree in Political Science from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1972 and his law degree (cum laude) from St. Louis University in 1975 and has been engaged in the private practice of law since that time. A lifelong resident of St. Charles, Mr. Barklage dedicated many years to public service as an elected member of the Missouri House of Representatives. Mr. Barklage was instrumental in creating and modifying and amending many of the laws that govern probate estates, trust administration and guardianship/conservatorship estates in the state of Missouri. Mr. Barklage served six years as a member of the Missouri State Highway and Transportation Commission, while concurrently serving as Vice-Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Highway Department and Highway Patrol Retirement System, including duty as Chairman of the System's Investment Committee.
Mr. Barklage is a member of the Estate Planning Council of St. Louis. Mr. Barklage was the founder of the St. Charles County Land Trust, an organization solely dedicated to preserving green space in St. Charles County, Missouri. In addition, he is a member of the Probate and Trust and Eminent Domain Committees of the Missouri Bar, and served several years as the Chairman of the Missouri Bar Legislation Committee. Additionally, he has devoted additional time in other areas of public service on several other committees, including the Missouri State Juvenile Justice Advisory Group of the Missouri Department of Public Safety (1981 - 1990) and the Governor's Crime Commission. Mr. Barklage has also served as a member of the Board of Directors of several banks and other corporations and is a member of the St. Charles Chamber of Commerce and St. Peters Chamber of Commerce. He has also recently joined the Board of Community Living, Inc., an organization devoted to service to handicapped, disabled and incapacitated individuals.
St. Louis University