James M. 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.
James also assists clients in the process of administering trusts. When a loved one passes away and leaves their assets in trust, James assists clients in moving clients through the trust administration process to ensure that all issues are dealt with in regard to trust administration, handling assets, conducting distributions, managing the trust, and assisting with tax matters.
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.
James assists clients in selling business interests and assets from businesses. These transactions often involve in depth negotiations with respect to not only purchase price, but also tax ramifications. Whether it is a partial sale or a sale of the entire business or assets, James assists clients with these types of sales. James often works with client's accountants and financial advisors uncomplaining advice in this area.
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.