Practice Areas: Estate Planning, Trusts, Trust Administration, Probate Administration, Guardianships and Conservatorships, Asset Protection, Fiduciary Litigation, Business Law, Business Disputes, Medicaid Planning, Elder Law, Personal Injury, and Real Estate
Admitted: 2011: Missouri and Illinois
Law School: Thomas M. Cooley Law School, Juris Doctor magna cum laude, Grand Rapids, Michigan; Undergraduate: Pensacola Christian College, B.A. History cum laude, Pensacola, FL
Associations: The Missouri Bar Association, Illinois State Bar Association, Jefferson County Bar Association
Biography: James Kreitler grew up in Jefferson County, Missouri, with his family roots being in Sainte Genevieve County, Missouri. James began his legal career as a civil litigation defense attorney, defending individuals and businesses in lawsuits in both Missouri and Illinois. This defense work involved both working extensively through the litigation process and analyzing the risks of loss for clients and their assets. This background in both extensive litigation and analyzing the risk of client asset exposure, has given James the knowledge and skill necessary to now advise clients on appropriate estate planning techniques for their specific estate, as well as the appropriate asset protection techniques for business owners and managers.
With respect to Estate Planning and Trusts, James helps clients decide the appropriate estate planning route that fits their individual needs. These estate planning techniques include the use of Irrevocable and Revocable Trusts, Wills, Durable Powers of Attorney, Living Wills, Assignment documents, and Deeds. The estate planning process is customized to each client’s goals, such as asset protection for the client or the client’s beneficiaries, specific gifts to beneficiaries, special needs situations, or business succession goals. James often works with the client’s accountants and financial advisors on completing advice in this area. After a client passes away, James often assists the family in administering the trust estate so as to allow for the client’s wishes to be put into effect. James also serves as trustee for trusts when requested by clients or other parties.
James also assists clients in the probate process when a loved one did not bypass the probate process through estate planning. This involves situations in which there is a will or when there is not a will. The client will be appointed personal representative of the estate upon court approval and acceptance of the will, if there is a will. In addition, this probate process also includes situations in which a loved one is in need of a Guardianship or Conservatorship. The client will be appointed Guardian or Conservator of the estate upon court approval.
With respect to long-term care planning, James assists those concerned with the costs of long-term care by helping clients prepare trusts and complete other planning techniques so as to help protect against the risks of long-term care or nursing home care. Those finding themselves in-need of immediate nursing home care have used James’s skills and services to complete Medicaid planning so as to become Medicaid eligible in a few months, while saving most of the client’s estate from being spent solely on nursing home costs. This is sometimes referred to as Elder Law. James often works with the client’s accountants and financial advisors on completing advice in this area.
James also assists in situations in which trustees, personal representatives, powers of attorney, guardians or conservators (also known as “fiduciaries”) are alleged to have not fulfilled their roles and duties appropriately. This leads to what is known as fiduciary litigation. With an extensive background in estate planning, probate and trust administration, James is able to advise clients as to when or whether there is a breach of a their duties when acting as one of these fiduciaries. James has also advised clients who are beneficiaries of a trust or estate in regard to whether the fiduciary has breached their duties owed to the trust or the estate.
With respect to businesses, James helps clients determine the appropriate business structure for their business, such as a Limited Liability Company (LLC), Corporation, Limited Partnership, or Partnerships. In regard to LLC’s, James often assists business owners in deciding whether a Series LLC is appropriate for them—the Series LLC allows for multiple businesses or assets (such as rental properties) to be held by separate entities under one “holding” company, while also achieving separated liability as to each business and asset when appropriate steps are taken. This Series LLC results in the same asset protection as having multiple, separate LLC’s while reducing the initial costs of setting up multiple LLC’s. James often works with the client’s accountants and financial advisors on completing advice in this area. James also advises several businesses on a day-to-day basis in regard to employment, contract, and administration matters.
James assists clients in negotiating the sale or purchase of real estate and transferring real estate. This involves both contract drafting and research regarding the proposed transaction. James has also been extensively involved in real estate disputes, specifically title disputes, boundary disputes, and easement disputes. Oftentimes, litigation is not necessary on all disputes, and James assists in attempting to resolve the dispute before litigation, when possible.
With respect to personal injury, James assists clients who have been injured in auto accidents and “slip-and-falls”. With a background in defending against auto accidents and “slip-and-falls”, James is able to quickly determine liability and reasonable damage amounts for clients.
James has had a lot of success in the courts of appeal as well, most notably the unanimous Missouri Supreme Court decision in which he represented the City of De Soto, Missouri in the case of City of De Soto v. Nixon (476 S.W.3d 282 (Mo. 2016)), a constitutional interpretation case. In addition, the following are favorable decisions in the courts of appeal for James’s clients: Evers v. Allred (____ S.W.3d______ (Mo. Ct. App. E.D. (2019)) (road maintenance dispute) and Suedkamp v. Taylor (578 S.W.3d 408 (Mo. Ct. App. E.D. 2019)) (real estate dispute).
James is proud to represent so many families and farms and their businesses all over the states of Missouri and Illinois. In his free time, James enjoys spending time with his wife and their four children. James enjoys hunting and working outdoors. James enjoys reading books and articles on history and philosophy. James is a member of Rotary, and he serves his community through his church.
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