Today in the Law

David Schmidt – Attorney at Law, 423 Woodlawn Avenue, O’Fallon, Missouri. #Estate Lawyer #Accident Lawyer #Disability Lawyer #Elder Lawyer #Insurance Lawyer #Work Comp Lawyer
#Divorce Lawyer #Employment Discrimination Lawyer #Real Estate Lawyer

On occasion, we will provide you updates on the law as well as suggestions for what is needed to keep your estate plan, business, or personal matters in correct legal form.

Your legal update, October 10,

A recent article in the Huffington Post discussed the difficulties with having a court appointed guardian.  The article highlights the many abuses of a guardianship along with the high cost for filing a petition for guardianship and the fees for maintaining the guardianship.  What can you do today to keep from falling into this trap?

If you or a loved one is concerned about aging and mental health, including being diagnosed with Alzheimers and possibly dementia, do the following before it is too late:

How to protect yourself and your loved ones.

  • Execute a comprehensive power of attorney that includes the ability of the person you choose to both manage your money if you become incapacitated and assume the role of your guardian if necessary.
  • Execute a comprehensive health care power of attorney that allows your chosen representative to make all health care decisions if you are incapacitated.
  •  Review these documents often in regard to the age of your representative and any changes that may have occurred in that person’s life, such as a bankruptcy, illegal activity, divorce, lawsuits, fiscal irresponsibility or changes in your relationship.
  • Submit these documents to the appropriate parties before it becomes necessary. Ask banks and other financial institutions to examine the power of attorney and authorize it while you are still healthy. Ask doctors and local hospitals if the medical directives and health care power of attorney are acceptable.
  • And then do it all over again. It’s important to re-execute powers of attorney every few years. Despite Missouri law, many financial institutions claim that a power of attorney becomes stale after some arbitrary period of time. Having newer documents that reflect the same wishes as those contained in older documents is wise.
  • Keep originals in fireproof cabinets and PDF copies electronically.
  • Call David Schmidt at the Woodlawn Law Center today, 636-240-6667, to schedule an appointment and get your estate documents in order now, before it is too late.

Your legal update, September 21, 2017

Small Business succession planning

There are a lot a good reasons to run your own business. You enjoy a lot of freedom to do the type of work you like, work with people you want to work with, and set your hours. Life is good in the small business world.

With fine tuning your business operations, you should also think about succession planning, as your company’s survival depends on it. So why is it on the back burner of most small business professionals? According to a survey by Nationwide Insurance, sixty percent of small business owners do not have a succession plan, and of those owners, nearly half said they didn’t think it was necessary. The survey also found that business owners in their 20s and 30s were more likely to have a succession plan than those who were baby boomers or in their 40s.

So what do these young business owners know that the older generations don’t? Maybe they know it is best to plan early and be ready in case you want to move onto another adventure. Selling a business takes time. Leaving a business due to sickness or death can leave a business, and the owner’s family, vulnerable to huge losses, or at the minimum, with difficult financial decisions.

A succession plan doesn’t always need to be complicated. Even a simple buy/sell agreement among the owners, if more than one, can help. At a minimum, a business owner should prepare a durable power of attorney which would allow his representative to continue the business operations in case of disability, and a last will and testament, in case of death.

The best action is to get legal advice about your estate plan, and make sure your business as an asset is part of this plan. Call David Schmidt at the Woodlawn Law Center, 636-240-6667, for advice on setting up your estate plan today.

Your legal update, August 30, 2017

Keep us in mind when you have a legal question or when you need legal advice for estate planning, probate, elder law, real estate, personal injury, workers’ compensation, or employment discrimination. Call David Schmidt at the Woodlawn Law Center, 636-240-6667.

Your legal update, August 2, 2017

So August is National Make-a-Will Month. Who knew?

Getting a will isn’t the most pleasant of tasks, and consequently, too few people do it. A recent survey of more than 2,000 people by the online legal service Rocket Lawyer found that 64 percent don’t have wills. The biggest reason cited by folks: They just never got around to it. Some said they didn’t want to think about death.

You might believe that only wealthier families need a will. You’d be wrong.

Having an estate plan, including a last will and testament, is important for every family, regardless of age and how much money you have. A will (and powers of attorney) provide some peace and certainty about how things will be handled after an individual has died (or in the case of a general durable power of attorney, becomes incapacitated).

If you die without a will, the state could get involved in the costly job of trying to determine who in your family gets what. The decision by the state may not be what the individual intended, as well as making the probate estate much more complicated.

It’s never too late to put your financial affairs in order. Here are a few tips to get you started:

-Make an inventory of your assets (bank accounts, investments, properties, jewelry, art collections and other personal items).

-Review whom you’ve named as beneficiaries of your life insurance, retirement funds or investment accounts. (An ex-spouse, for example, may inherit if these forms haven’t been updated.)

-If you’ve already drafted a plan, look it over every few years to make sure the executors are still the people you trust and are up to the task.

David Schmidt, an estate attorney at the Woodlawn Law Center, is happy to speak to you about preparing a will for you and your family. Contact David Schmidt today at 636-240-6667.

Your legal update, July 21,2017

If you’re like most people, you do not have an ongoing business relationship with a lawyer, and may only hire an attorney a few times in your lifetime. So, when faced with a legal need, such as putting together a will, the task of finding and hiring an attorney can be intimidating.

Here are a few things to bear in mind when hiring an estate planning attorney:


Lawyers are not interchangeable. Just as a cardiologist wouldn’t set a broken bone, not all lawyers practice in all areas of the law. Unlike physicians, however, most states do not have specialty designations for attorneys. Unfortunately, there are some attorneys who claim to be experts in wills and trusts, but have little or no experience in this area of practice. If one of these attorneys offers to draw up a will or trust, he or she may not have the experience to be able to advise you on how to ensure your specific wishes are carried out.


When hiring an attorney, understanding precisely how you will be charged will prevent a big headache down the road. Lawyers generally charge one of three ways: by the hour, a one-time flat fee, or by contingency (percentage of the amounts recovered). Not every fee structure is permitted for every legal situation. For personal injury cases, most lawyers charge a contingency fee; for certain business transactions (such as incorporation), they’ll charge a flat fee; and for most other matters, they will ring up by the hour.


Notice the manner in which a lawyer’s staff treats you, in the office or over the phone, as that is often a reflection of how the lawyer practices. At a minimum, you should expect to be treated courteously and professionally both by the staff and by the lawyer. You should take the time to meet with several attorneys to get a sense of their communication skills as well as their expertise. While it is important to have confidence in an attorney’s professional abilities, compatibility should not be overlooked.

The attorney-client relationship is highly personal and based on trust, open communication and mutual respect.

Contact David Schmidt at 636-240-6667 to discuss your need for any attorney.

Your legal update, July 10, 2017

Remember that a will does not keep your estate out of probate.
Other common techniques to keep your estate out of probate are:
1. Joint tenancies.
2. TOD or POD designations.
3. Living trusts.
4. Beneficiary deeds for real estate.
Set up an appointment if you wish to discuss these items.
We will review all the pros and cons. We will also discuss durable powers of attorney, financial and health care and “living wills”

Call David Schmidt at the Woodlawn Law Center, (636) 240-6667 to discuss your estate plan today.

David Schmidt, Attorney, Woodlawn Law Center

Your legal update, May 11, 2017

Your Injury case and our office,
As passionate advocates for injury victims, we’re dedicated to upholding a standard of excellence in the practice of personal injury law. Mr. Schmidt has helped many clients in personal injury cases and our reputation in the community reflects this commitment.
At the law office of David S. Schmidt, you benefit from:
· Mr. Schmidt’s experience with the complexities of personal injury law,
· Mr. Schmidt’s expertise and solid track record preparing for, and presenting in court, and
· Mr. Schmidt’s knowledge of the legal procedures and technicalities necessary to win cases.
We recognize that your injury case is the ONLY case you may ever have, and that it is your biggest concern. At the close of your case, we will measure our success not only by the amount of money we recover for you, but on your willingness to refer us to others. Call the law office of David S. Schmidt, 636-240-6667, for more information and to speak with Mr. Schmidt directly about your case.

Your legal update, March 23, 2017

The United States Supreme Court issued a recent ruling that will affect all parents who have students in the public school system, including our Fort Zumwalt School District. The case concerns students with special needs and disabilities that are covered by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (#IDEA), a federal law that requires a “free and appropriate public education” for disabled students. The case ruled on by the Supreme Court involved a boy who attended public school and who was given specialized instruction to deal with his learning and behavioral issues. His parents, not happy with the instruction given by the public school, sent the boy to a private school and then demanded the public school district to pay for his $70,000.00 private education, asserting the IDEA and stating the school district was not doing enough to meet their son’s needs.
The Supreme Court ruled this week that the IDEA requires that a public school district must provide students with disabilities the proper education and support to help the child achieve meaningful and substantive education goals, not just a “deminimis education” program. In essence, every school district, including Fort Zumwalt/Francis Howell/Wentville/St. Charles, etc., will need to provide a tailored education program for every disabled student in the district.
What does this mean for all the parents who have students in public schools? For those with disabled students, it is a win-win. For everyone else, it may mean less financial resources for all the other student programs, since more of our tax dollars that support the public schools will have to be spent on the disabled student programs, leaving less money for the gifted and regular student programs. As a parent, you may want to talk to your child’s teachers and counselors to make sure your own child is receiving a proper education for his or her own needs.

Your legal update, September 28, 2016

Protect your family from elder financial abuse.

Elder financial abuse is also called financial or material exploitation. Cases of elder financial abuse often go unreported because the victims may be afraid or embarrassed that they fell for a scam.

Spotting the signs.

Warning signs include:
-changes in an elderly person’s typical spending patterns
-transferring assets to a new “friend’ assisting with finances
-unexplained changes in an elder’s bank accounts
-unfamiliar signatures on checks and other documents, or checks made out to “cash”
-missing property
-unpaid bills despite adequate income

Safeguarding a loved one.

You can help prevent the possibility of it happening by making sure and elderly relative has regular social interaction and outings. If a relative acts as a caregiver, have an attorney draft a caregiver agreement that outlines the financial remuneration (if any) and services provided. Set a spending limit on bank accounts to assure the money is accounted for.

Finally, accompany your loved one to the Woodlawn Law Center to prepare legal documents that will assist with caring for an elderly person. The types of documents may include wills, powers of attorney, health care declarations and powers of attorney, transfer on death forms and beneficiary deed transfers, or maybe even a trust agreement appointing someone as a trustee or successor trustee. Call attorney David Schmidt at the Woodlawn Law Center, 636-240-6667 to schedule an appointment today.

Your legal update, September 14, 2016

Remember that a will does not keep your estate out of probate.
Other common techniques are.
1. Joint tenancies.
2. TOD or POD designations.
3. Living trusts.
4. Beneficiary deeds for real estate.
Set up an appointment if you wish to discuss these items.
We will review all the pros and cons.
Call David Schmidt at the Woodlawn Law Center, (636) 240-6667.
We will also discuss durable powers of attorney, financial and health care and “living wills”

David Schmidt, Attorney, Woodlawn Law Center

Your legal update, February 12, 2016

What is a Durable Power of Attorney and why do you need one?

A “durable” power of attorney is probably the most important power of attorney for individuals, especially the elderly and those with life threatening diseases, such as early onset Alzheimer. A durable power of attorney empowers someone else to act on your behalf at any point until it is revoked or no longer needed. This can be extremely important if you become mentally or physically incapacitated and need a trusted friend or family member to manage your healthcare and financial affairs. Durable powers of attorney are often made effective immediately, so the individual you designate as the decision-maker is empowered to act without having to prove that you are incapacitated.

The Law Office of David Schmidt can prepare the correct Durable Power of Attorney for you, along with any other estate planning documents you may need. Call Mr. Schmidt at 636-240-6667 to schedule your appointment today!

Your legal update, January 6, 2016

Our office handles social security disability claims and insurance disability claims. Many claims involve some aspect of a mental health disability. The attached article is good at explaining how we can better understand someone with a mental health disability.  The office also deals with employment discrimination matters. These also can involve mental health disabilities.  If you know someone who is being discriminated against because of a disability, encourage him or her to call my office to discuss their legal rights.  Call David Schmidt at the Woodlawn Law Offices, 636-240-6667.

Your legal update, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year from David Schmidt and the Woodlawn Law Offices. Feel free to contact us next year for all your legal needs. We handle estate planning, social security disability claims, worker’s compensation claims, accident/injury claims, real estate matters, business law, elder law, and traffic/DWI.  Call David Schmidt at 636-240-6667 to schedule your appointment today!

Your legal update, December 18, 2015

Solar Panels are becoming popular as a way be self-sustainable and live “off the grid.” Many new companies are selling or leasing solar panels to homeowners. These panels are generally installed on the roof of a home and integrated into your electrical and/or plumbing system. Many small businesses and commercial property owners are also attempting to save money on electrical costs by installing solar panels.

These systems, while considered as a way to save costs over a long term period, can also have costly problems. Solar Panel Companies are leasing systems to property owners and keeping the tax credits for the system. Therefore, a homeowner loses this tax credit advantage for installing the system. Another problem that my arise is with the physical installation of the solar panels. Improper installation of the solar panels may cause major damage to the home’s structural integrity, causing thousands of dollars in repair costs. These problems may not arise immediately, and proving who is liable for the repairs can be difficult.

David Schmidt at the Woodlawn Law Offices is knowledgeable in Real Estate litigation and contract law. We are continually researching this area of law and can assist those who may have questions about solar panel installation, who may need to have a lease or purchase contract reviewed, or who may have suffered a financial loss due to a failed installation or solar panel system. If you need assistance, call David Schmidt at the Woodlawn Law Offices, 636.240-6667. #solarpanellawsuit

Your legal update, November 2, 2015

Whenever thinking about Social Security, you need to remember to have the proper Estate Plan ready. Now is the best time of year to start preparing an Estate Plan. We can prepare your Trust, Last Will and Testament, and Powers of Attorney now so when you are together with family for the Holidays you can explain to them what documents you have and who is named as your legal representative.

Call David Schmidt at 636.240.6667 to schedule your appointment now!

7 ways Social Security will change in 2016

Your legal update, September 18, 2015

What should you expect when you call The Woodlawn Law Offices?

Most people are nervous about calling an attorney’s office. Why? One, they have a problem and need help. Many people do not like to ask for help until the problem gets so bad they have to call. So they are nervous about why they waited to call our office.

Second, people are always concerned about paying an attorney. So they search the internet for an answer to their problem (I have been there and use the internet to get answers for many things-car repairs, house repairs, health issues). At some point, while you think you know the answer, you want a confirmation, or just simply need the legal guidance of a local attorney.

In order to alleviate your fear about calling an attorney’s office, attorney David Schmidt provides the following instructions for anyone needing to speak to his office:

“Call and ask me some questions. “I will spend time on the phone with you and evaluate what the problem is and give you my legal point of view. Then, if you like what you hear, and I can help, you can schedule an appointment to come in, meet me and the office staff, and we can discuss your legal issues and how I will be able to help. If it is preparing estate planning documents, I will give you a list of documents I suggest you prepare and the cost for putting these documents together for you. If it is a disability claim, I will explain the process for going on disability, for both short/long term disability actions and social security disability, and how it will affect your lifestyle and your income. If we talk about a personal injury action, discrimination claim, product liability claim, or real property insurance dispute, I will evaluate your claim and let you know how I plan to proceed. If you are a business owner, I will listen to you, determine the area of law that concerns you at the time, advise you on what needs to be done, and also discuss your current legal documents and corporate status so that you have the legal protections you need.

In all cases, you will leave my office more informed and better educated on the legal issues you are concerned about, as well as knowing more about me and how my office can help. So the best thing for you to do now is call the office at 636.240.6667 and ask for David Schmidt.”

Your legal update, September 1, 2015.

Drafting Estate Planning Documents in the era of the Internet and Online Document Assembly Sites.

Why should you use an attorney when you can download stuff from the internet?

-Because I know what the client needs. I will meet with you, ask you to come prepared with information about your property and investments, and will ask you questions about what you want done with your property after you die, or in the case of a married couple, after each spouse dies.

-As your personal attorney, I know why, when, and how to use the documents I recommend to you and the documents we will select for your unique needs. Every estate is different, every family has its own personalities, needs, and family make-up. The documents selected should be tailored for each individual and the family. Since I will have gone over your information, and discussed with you the property you own and what you want done after you die, or in the case of a married couple, after each spouse dies, I can recommend those documents that are BEST for you, and tailor the documents for your estate.

-I understand that the client “wants to avoid probate.” As your personal attorney, I have the same goal. We will discuss the ways this can best be accomplished, and I will prepare those nonprobate transfer documents you need, and execute the documents so they are effective for your property. Remember, not every State has the same nonprobate transfer laws, and as your attorney I can help recognize where nonprobate transfer documents may not work for you, or if the documents need to be tailored for your own estate.

-As your personal attorney, I know how to get your estate planning documents executed properly. Proper execution of your documents is essential for the documents to hold up to scrutiny. After you die, it is too late to find out the documents are not properly executed. Relying on some internet form and to “sign the dotted line” is fraught with risk you do not want to take, since you will not be around to correct the mistake. Further, proper execution and discussion about your “testamentary capacity” will help minimize the risk of a will contest. With a steady rise in the rate of people suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, the ability to determine testamentary capacity is important to the estate planning process. A face to face discussion with your personal attorney can help determine testamentary capacity.

-Finally, as your personal attorney, I also know what else is left to do. The Woodlawn Law Offices will be with you every step of the way and will make sure you understand the process as well as help you complete the documents ancillary to your estate plan. If deeds need to be filed to transfer assets into your estate, we will make sure this is done.

Contact David Schmidt at the Woodlawn Law Offices, 636.240.6667, to schedule an appointment today!

Your legal update, August 21, 2015.

Below is a link to an article in the Huffington Post about divorce lawyers benefiting from the release of the Ashley Madison website records. As an attorney, I have dealt with couples getting divorced. Infidelity is a major cause for divorces. This has been an age old issue and is not just related to information on the internet.

However, I do want to remind people that anything you post on the internet remains there, FOREVER. Employers are using the internet as a tool for hiring/firing. Credit cards are being hacked. And now infidelity becomes public information. So be careful what you post, as it will resurface – and usually at a time you do not want.

If you find yourself considering divorce, or have any other legal matters to discuss, call David Schmidt at the Woodlawn Law Offices, 636.240.6667.

Your legal update, August 10, 2015.

The following information comes from the Missouri Attorney General’s office:  The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal law prohibiting discrimination against persons with disabilities in places of public accommodation, government services, and employment. The ADA is enforced by the U.S. Department of Justice. The Missouri Human Rights Act (MHRA) prohibits discrimination on several bases, including disability, and incorporates the ADA. Complaints of violations of the MHRA are investigated by the Missouri Commission on Human Rights. It is against the law for employers, public entities, and public accommodations to discriminate against a person based on that person’s disability. If you have questions or feel that you have been discriminated against due to your disability, please contact:

U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division (202) 514-4609

Missouri Commission on Human Rights (877) 781-4236,

Feel free to call Attorney David Schmidt at the Woodlawn Law Offices, (636) 240-6667, if you would like to discuss any form of discrimination claim you may have.

Your legal update, July 28, 2015.

Divorce. If you chose litigation in your divorce, you are allowing the judge, a perfect stranger, to make decisions for you and your children. You give up any and all control and both parties will walk away from the divorce trial unhappy in one way or another with the result.

Nobody ever wins in a divorce. My best advice is to discourage litigation and encourage the couple to compromise whenever they can. As a peacemaker, my job as your lawyer provides me an opportunity to being a good man.  So if you are considering divorce, in the process, or your spouse has requested or filed for divorce and you need the assistance of a skilled lawyer, contact David Schmidt at the Woodlawn Law Offices, 636-240-6667.

Your legal update, July 15. 2015.

Today I would like to remind you to review your estate planning needs and make sure your documents are in order. Young families raising children should have a properly executed Last Will and Testament along with Powers of Attorney. If you are traveling out of the country, or for an extended period of time and will be away from your children, you may want to provide the children’s care giver with a Power of Attorney for Parents and temporary custody affidavit.

Empty nesters will generally see their estates grow as the children have left and their daily expenses are curtailed. With an expanded family – a son/daughter in law and significant others involved, along with grandchildren – a proper estate plan is the most important thing you can do for your family. This may include a Revocable Trust and Last Wills and Testaments. You may be able to consider non-probate transfers such as a Beneficiary Deed for your home. Plans involving vacation property can be tricky, in terms of how the property should be devised as well as who in the family should receive the property or, in many cases, be a manager of the property for the family. A Trust explaining how the property should be used and who should control the vacation property is a great estate planning tool.

Finally, many of us are now running our own business, and these present their own unique estate planning needs. With partners or other stockholders involved, putting together a business transition plan helps keep the business running if an unfortunate loss of a business member should occur. A properly drafted and funded Buy-Sell Agreement can help, along with preparing the Articles of Incorporation/Operating Agreement to cover these contingencies. We can help you navigate the legal documents and prepare the documents that best suit your situation.

Call the Woodlawn Law Offices and schedule an appointment today. You and your family will be grateful if anything should happen.


David Schmidt, Attorney at Law

June 26, 2015, OBERGEFELL ET AL. v. HODGES, DIRECTOR, OHIO DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, ET AL.  The United States Supreme Court makes marriage between two people of the same sex legal in the United States of America. A link to the actual decision follows:

The Woodlawn Law Offices are here to help. We are able to handle matters related to getting married. It is important as a couple joining together in marriage to think about how they want to handle their assets prior to getting married. We can help prepare a Pre-Nuptial Agreement that sets forth what will happen to your assets before, during, and after the marriage. A person who has worked hard to build a business should protect his/her investment, and using a pre-nuptial agreement is the best way to preserve your hard work while also providing for your new spouse in case of an emergency, death, or in case of divorce.  Call our office today and schedule an appointment to see us before getting married. If you could not wait, then call and we can discuss putting in place a Post-Nuptial Agreement.  We are here to help. It will also be important to have the proper estate planning documents in place. Let us handle your legal needs today.

If you have any questions regarding our services feel free to call the office at 636.240.6667. 


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