Estate Planning & Probate

Estate Planning and Wealth Transfers

DTC Advisors is dedicated to making sure your wishes are followed and a customized estate plan is created so that your estate is distributed to your family, friends, and charities in the manner you desire. Each client's situation is unique and Ms. Christoffersen will work directly with you, using a variety of techniques, to ensure your planning objectives are accomplished. The firm will help guide you through the process to prepare for a smooth transition of your financial assets after your death, guaranteeing that your desired beneficiaries receive the inheritance at such time and in the manner you desire. Part of the planning process will involve focus on providing stewardship for your spouse or partner and children, assuring the right people care for your children at your death, addressing issues of control in the event of incapacity and avoidance of probate. In addition, your plan can, depending upon your specific circumstances, be structured to reduce or eliminate taxes and address asset protection for your intended beneficiaries. As a part of the planning, you can also spend time identifying and incorporating your family values into the plan, to establish a value based legacy to pass on in addition to your assets.

Clients rely on the firm's expertise to guide them through the various planning tools available to accomplish their objectives. Among the planning tools used are:

  • Durable Powers of Attorney - Financial, Health, Living Wills
  • Wills - Testamentary, Pour-Over, Contracts
  • Trusts - Revocable, Irrevocable, Insurance, Special Needs, Pet, Retirement, Grantor Retained Annuity, Defective Grantor, Qualified Personal Residence, Beneficiary Controlled, Voting
  • Transfers of Business Interests - Family Limited Partnerships, Limited Liability Companies, Recapitalization (to create non-voting interests), Reorganizations, Installment Sales
  • Charitable Planning - Foundations, Charitable Remainder Trusts, Charitable Lead Trusts
  • Marital Planning - Lifetime Qualified Terminable Interest Property Trusts, Qualified Domestic Trusts, Pre and Post-nuptial Agreements, Split Gifting Strategies


Probate Estate and Trust Administration

If you are a personal representative, executor or trustee, our firm has the legal experience to guide you through the complexities of estate and trust administration and can assist you in all aspects of your fiduciary duties. We handle matters in Missouri, Illinois, and Colorado, whether the estate is independent or supervised, and work with qualified counsel at firms in other states with regard to ancillary probate matters. We also have experience protecting the interests of individuals who are unable to care for themselves or lack sufficient understanding or capacity to make or communicate responsible decisions regarding their personal needs and financial matters. This includes minor children, special needs individuals, and the elderly. DTC Advisors also regularly represents clients in matters involving the modification or termination of irrevocable trusts and declaratory actions to provide guidance regarding will and trust interpretation. The holistic philosophy of the firm and Ms. Christoffersen’s training as a certified mediator provide the firm’s clients with the tools necessary to settle an estate or trust matter amicably, in the best interest of all parties involved.


Special Needs Planning

The firm concentrates in special needs planning, particularly with families that have a special needs child. These matters require a comprehensive planning approach with the family, medical providers, legal, financial and accounting professionals all working together to create a plan that will work for the special needs child and the entire family. This planning generally includes a discussion of Medicaid and SSI eligibility, an evaluation of the possible Medicare and SSDI benefits available, and the arrangement of assets of the family and the special needs beneficiary to qualify or maintain the beneficiary on available federal and state assistance. The firm may advise incorporation of special needs planning into an existing estate plan or the use of self-settled Special Needs Trusts, third-party Special Needs Trusts, Medicaid Payback Trusts or the modification of existing disqualifying Trusts. If you currently provide care for a child or loved one with special needs, you have likely faced the concern about what may happen to them when you are no longer able to provide or care for them. DTC Advisors is here to work with you to alleviate that concern.


Marital Planning

DTC Advisors helps individuals focus on their financial rights and obligations upon marriage. Through the use of prenuptial agreements (also known as antenuptial agreements), cohabitation agreements, and certain types of Trusts, the individuals to be wed can set forth the manner in which they would like their respective rights and obligations addressed. In addition, the firm also assists individuals with financial, legal, and personal planning in the event of a legal separation or divorce. This assistance includes the review of existing assets and liabilities, working with other qualified advisors, such as financial planners and accountants, to create a new financial plan going forward, reviewing retirement plans and accounts to assure all pension plan and severance issues have been addressed, advising on any other tax or other legal issues that may exist from the marriage and creating or updating estate plan documents to assure current disposition desires are being met.


General Business Representation

DTC Advisors represents a variety of medium and small family-owned businesses and privately held companies, along with their owners. We are a small law firm that represents clients in forming, financing and reorganizing businesses, and in sophisticated business transactions. These businesses fall in a range of industries including software, health-care (physician, chiropractor and physical therapist groups), manufacturing, retailing, advertising, and professional services (management consultants, lawyers, accountants, real estate agents). We also have significant experience in representing startups and entrepreneurial companies.

We represent and serve your company's needs by getting to know your business so that we can better analyze and structure your business operations, transactions, and ownership. DTC Advisors serves as general business counsel addressing issues of business formation, executive compensation planning, contract negotiation, business financing, employment related issues, dispute resolution, real estate issues, and succession planning services. The firm also has significant experience in federal and state income tax matters and as a result, provides all general business advice cognizant of these issues and looks for additional planning ideas to legally minimize the various taxes to which any company is subject.

Among the types of general business services provided to clients are the following:

  • Advice and discussion regarding choice of entity (C or S corporations, general or limited partnerships, limited liability companies)
  • Contract negotiation/Review/Preparation
  • Buy/Sell (Shareholder/Owner) Agreements
  • Ownership structure and other strategic planning matters (including various stakeholder issues)
  • Tax Issues
  • Family owned ancillary businesses or asset entities
  • Real Estate acquisitions and leases
  • Business succession planning and transfers of control
  • Owner wealth preservation and transfer of value (including estate tax planning)
  • Sale or other Transfer of Business


Mergers and Acquisitions

The firm represents individuals and small and medium sized businesses in acquisitions and sales of their businesses, or their ancillary businesses. The acquisition or sale of a business is often one of the most important events in the life of an entrepreneur or business person. DTC Advisors helps guide its clients through these transactions by providing experienced counsel to our clients and assuring that the proposed transaction fulfills the client's goals. Our goal is to serve as a facilitator for the transaction while effectively protecting your interests. We represent both buyers and sellers and have handled transactions that have been as simple as a basic asset or stock purchase acquisition or divestiture to as complex as a "D" tax-free reorganization.

In addition to representing a company in a transaction, we also advise our business clients that have an interest in the eventual sale of their company regarding issues that will enhance the value of their business. Specifically, we will, upon request, perform a due diligence review of your company (or the company you may wish to acquire), clean up problematic issues that might reduce the value of business in a sale or could possibly crater an otherwise standard transaction, and work with you and your other advisors to create a strategic plan that makes a sale more likely and may reduce legal costs during the transaction.


Business Succession Planning

DTC Advisors focuses on the multidisciplinary needs of family-owned businesses and privately held companies and understands the importance of building lasting relationships with business owners built on trust, responsiveness and a genuine desire to view situations from the client's perspective, with the client's best interests driving each decision. While most entrepreneurs would like their business to continue, studies show that less than 35% of first generation family-owned businesses survive into the second generation and the statistics are worse for later generations. Many family businesses are put into the unfortunate position of struggling or failing outright upon the death of the founding member. The failure to plan, the adoption of an incomplete or inappropriate plan, or the failure to review an aged succession plan, for the transition of ownership and management of the business is one of the primary reasons for the loss of family owned businesses. This is not surprising considering an entrepreneur's time is largely focused on the current success of the business; not what happens to the business in the event he or she is no longer able to run it. One of the primary focuses of Ms. Christoffersen's practice is to ask our clients to concentrate on the "after" so that a cohesive plan can be put together now to keep the business in the family or to accomplish whatever the owner's succession objective is. Having seen an aged and incomplete succession plan cause the loss of a business in her own family, Ms. Christoffersen is passionate to ensure that her clients do not suffer a similar loss.


Estate, Gift and Income Tax Planning

The firm represents individuals, estates, trusts, and companies in a variety of income tax matters and individuals with regard to estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer tax (“GST”) planning. This representation includes wealth transfer planning advice to minimize exposure to estate, gift, and GST taxes as well as income tax planning and structuring to minimize exposure to federal and state income taxes. Further, the firm has specialized expertise in planning for non-US citizens. DTC Advisors prepares federal estate and gift tax returns. The firm has vast experience representing individuals and companies before the Internal Revenue Service, the State of Missouri, and the State of Illinois, both in audits and at the appellate level. In addition the firm prepares IRS private letter ruling requests on areas of expertise.


Mediation Services

Ms. Christoffersen recently became certified as a mediator, to provide mediation services related to her primary areas of expertise, notably will and trust contests and other fiduciary litigation, business "divorces" or divisions, and disputed contracts involving tax and business law implications. Mediation is a process that involves structured discussions for managing negotiations between parties led by an impartial mediator. If the parties are unable to agree to a solution at the conclusion of the mediation process, the court process is still available. After years of practice in estate planning and closely held business representation, Ms. Christoffersen has seen her clients, and other litigants, spend significant sums of money, sometimes more than the amount in dispute, in legal fees in the attempt to gain a reasonable resolution, only to be disappointed in the outcome. Through mediation, Ms. Christoffersen hopes to encourage open communication to gather all relevant information to resolve a dispute and assist the parties in creating their own solution rather than subjecting themselves to the court process, a process which inherently comes with large costs, delays, and emotional and physical toll.