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Scott C. Stockwell

Scott C. Stockwell

Ad Astra Legal LC Law Office
  • Business Law, Estate Planning, Probate...
  • Kansas
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Scott C. Stockwell has a general practice of law with a focus in estate planning, probate, business law serving the Lawrence, Kansas and Douglas County, Kansas area as well as the surrounding counties of Jefferson, Leavenworth, Wyandotte, Johnson, Franklin, Osage, and Shawnee. Scott is a 1984 J.D. graduate of the University of Kansas School of Law in Lawrence, Kansas, a 2015 M.B.A. graduate of the W. P. Carey School of Business in Tempe, Arizona and a 1981 B.A. graduate of Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas.

Practice Areas
  • Business Law
  • Estate Planning
  • Probate
  • Real Estate Law
  • Elder Law
Additional Practice Areas
  • General Civil
  • Probate Law
  • Wills and Trusts
  • Free Consultation
    A free consultation for estate planning and probate clients.
  • Credit Cards Accepted
    Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express
Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice
  • English: Spoken, Written
  • German: Spoken
Professional Experience
Scott C. Stockwell, Attorney at Law
- Current
Private Legal Practice in Lawrence, Kansas
Director, Utilities Division
Kansas Corporation Commission
Assistant to Commissioner Keith R. Henley
Kansas Corporation Commission
Arizona State University
MBA (2015) | Information Management, Marketing, and International Business
International Study in France and Spain
University of Kansas School of Law
J.D. | Law
Activities: Law Clerk Johnson County District Court; Traffic Court Attorney; Chief Judge of the Traffic Court
Kansas State University
B.A. | Political Science, Pre-Law
Professional Associations
Douglas County Estate Planning Council
- Current
Websites & Blogs
Legal Answers
24 Questions Answered

Q. Guardianship/cons. petition in MO., GAL/court appointed atty. did not inform resp. of right to exam. Motion to retry?
A: This question was misdirected to the Kansas section. Should ask again in the Missouri section.
Q. My mother passed away recently. She did not have a will. She lived with her boyfriend of 20-plus years. I'm her only hei
A: A single person who passes away with one child would have a single heir, the child. Kansas does recognize common law marriage. So two single people may hold themselves out to be married and by virtue of their affirmative effort to be a married couple, may become married. Common law marriage has generally fallen into disfavor in a majority of other states. You should consult with an attorney about how to handle matters of the estate and questions about whether common law marriage would be an issue.
Q. My friend informed me that he wants me to inherit his estate and wants me to draw up the documents to do so.
A: Your friend would need some independent legal advice. Kansas law provides that: "Any provision in a will, written or prepared for another person, that gives the writer or preparer or the writer's or preparer's parent, children, issue, sibling or spouse any devise or bequest is invalid affirmatively appears that the testator had read or knew the contents of the will and had independent legal advice with reference thereto. K.S.A. 59-605. A document you prepare or have someone else prepare for you would need to be provided to your friend, he would need to meet with an independent attorney who could advise him, and there would need to be affirmative proof that he read the document or that someone read the document to him and he "knew" the contents before he signed it. If your friend were to hire his own attorney and have the document drafted by his own attorney, it would eliminate the need for potentially two different attorneys.
Q. My sister passed away with no will. Her condo is going back to the bank. She has no assets but the condo and her car.
A: A creditor such as a bank may file a petition to probate an estate. In absence of a family member who is an heir at law stepping forward to ask for the appointment of an administrator, the court would likely appoint a fiduciary suggested by the creditors as administrator. The administrator would then have the authority to deal with settlement of the debts, filing taxes and such things. It would be a good idea to visit with an attorney and determine who your sister’s heir(s) at law might be. The heir(s) at Law should consider filing to probate the estate. The costs of administration are a priority expense, paid before most other classes of creditors. If the estate has sufficient assets to fund an orderly winding up of the estate, that might produce a better result than leaving it to the bank to attend the task.
Q. Can a house or car from an estate be used if it hasn't been settled with the beneficiaries yet
A: After a fiduciary (executor if there is a will or administrator if there is no will) has been appointed to handle the estate, the fiduciary will need to safeguard the assets while the estate is being administered. Some assets may be sold, and others may be held for eventual distribution. With a house, there might be practical reasons why having it occupied might be better than leaving it vacant. Reasons to have a house occupied might, for example, include security, keeping the grounds maintained, ensuring that the heat does not go out in winter months, or that the occupant already lived in the house under an arrangement with the decedent. The fiduciary generally should avoid having assets that are not productive if there are alternatives that fit the duration of the administration of the estate. If it is possible to rent the asset while the estate is being administered, and if such arrangement makes financial or management sense, such an arrangement might be appropriate. The car would be a slightly different analysis. The possibility of an accident, with personal injury or damage, the difficulty to insure against and pay the deductable for such loss, would perhaps make such an arrangement less likely. Mileage, wear and tear, and maintenance would also be considerations that would have to be taken into account to judge whether such use should be permitted. An accident could occur in a house, and care should be taken to contractually protect the estate as best as possible. Your question alludes to the consideration of the beneficiaries' interests or wishes or both. A beneficiary who is entitled to a specific asset, such as a car, might object to wear and tear on the vehicle, even if no specific damage is done. The fiduciary generally may act in the general best interests of the estate, subject to the court's oversight. Beneficiaries may object, but the judge is the ultimate arbiter. However, if the value of the vehicle is affected by its use, such specific beneficiary could object to the decline in value and ask the court to order compensation for the loss in value, either from the estate residue or possibly requiring the fiduciary to pay (if the actions of the fiduciary were not prudent.) The general focus of the estate's administration should be concluding the estate and distributing the assets. After the time for creditor's claims have passed and debts paid (approximately six months from the date of death), the specific distributions could be made.
Q. We are selling our home in Kansas to buyers being assisted by a relocation company. They had the inspection done on
A: A typical residential real estate transaction in Kansas is structured to provide an limited time for an opportunity for an inspection to be conducted after the agreement is signed. Typically, there is also a procedure that allows the buyer to request repairs to address issues found. The seller may agree to the requested repairs, in which case the agreement becomes fully binding. If the seller refuses to make all of the requested repairs and the buyer and seller cannot reach a compromise, then the transaction unwinds. The essential concept is that, with further information, the buyer either does not want to accept the property before potential problems are fully repaired or the necessary repairs impair the value of the property so much that the original price is not acceptable. The seller and buyer may or may not have leverage based upon the how tight the market might be. Some buyers will look at the possible repairs and not want to ask for them to be done and risk the seller saying no and walking away. In this instance, the relocation company may be simply acting like a sales manager at a car dealership. It may simply be a negotiating tactic to extract the most possible from the seller. The exact details depend upon the terms of the agreement. You should consult with an attorney to review the specific sales documents in this situation and determine whether the buyer can make a take it or leave it demand at this point in time. Your attorney would want to look at the terms of the agreement to see whether the inspections were called for in the agreement and whether the time constraints in the agrement were met.
Q. I own a small share of KS office building. I retired & what my share of the value. What can I do with no agreement?
A: If you directly own an interest in the building (your name is on the deed), there is a process called partition in which you file a lawsuit asking the judge to “partition” the property. If it is not possible to “partition” the property into seaprate, discrete parts, as would likely be the case with an office building, then the judge can order an appraisal of the property and the property is offered to the parties for the value determined. If no one wanted to purchase the building for that value, it would go to a sheriff’s sales at which the property would need to bring at least a minimum value (two-thirds of the valuation). Of course the parties may agree to some other arrangement and bring the case to a close. If you are a shareholder or member of a corporation or LLC that owns the property, the options are more limited. The controlling interests have fairly broad discretion, in absence of some provisions in the articles of incorporation or bylaws (corporation) or articles of organization and operating agreement (limited liability company). It would be best to consult with an attorney to review the organizational documents and how the company is being operated and governed to see if there is a possibility to force some action.
Q. If property is deeded in my husband's name, will that ownership pass to me upon his death?
A: There are two parts to the question. The first being the nature of the interest that was transferred to your husband. If your husband holds his interest as a tenant in common, then his interest in the property would pass subject to his will if one exists, or the laws of intestacy, subject to your rights as a spouse. If your husband is a joint tenant with right of survivorship, then his interest in the property would lapse at his death, and the surviving of the siblings would be the sole owners of the interest in the property. The second part of the question relates to who would receive your husband's interest in the property, if he holds the property as a tenant in common. If your husband has a valid will naming you as the sole beneficiary of the estate, the tenants in common interest would pass to you. If your husband had a will naming someone else, such as children, as the beneficiaries, or had no will at all, his estate would pass to those beneficiaries or heirs at law, subject to your claim of spousal rights. If the property is held in joint tenancy, your husband could take actions to sever the joint tenancy, if one exists. In either case, your husband could petition a court to partition the property, which would compel the sale of the property and the division of the net proceeds among the named owners of the property. You should consult with an attorney about the specific circumstances. You should obtain a copy of the deed or probate order that assigned the interest to share with the attorney with whom you consult.
Q. My 4 children's father recently passed away. His current wife says their is no will but he showed it to me beforehand.
A: If you or your children know who the attorney was that drafted the will, you could reach out to that attorney and ask for the original or a copy. If the original is not found, one of your children could ask the court to probate the lost will, if its contents are known. There is a presumption that a lost will was revoked or destroyed by the decedent intentionally, but that presumption may be overcome by affirmative evidence to the contrary. In Kansas, the heirs at law are the children of the decedent. The spouse may be entitled to a share of the estate, that varies to some extent based upon the number of years of marriage and several other factors. If the house or other real estate was owned by the decedent and his spouse as joint tenants with right of survivorship, she may be the sole person with an interest in the real property. Other assets may pass directly to named beneficiaries based upon transfer on death designations. If your children believe there are assets of their deceased father that require probate, they may file a petition to probate the estate and have an administrator appointed. The administrator would have the authority to demand access to assets that are the decedent's sole property including, if it exists, an original will. Your children need to consult with an attorney at the earliest possible time. The best course of action depends upon the specific facts of the situation that the attorney and the children will need to identify. The details of the situation may call for a specific course of action that is time-dependent.
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1201 Wakarusa DR
Suite E-222
Lawrence, KS 66049
Telephone: (785) 842-1359
Cell: (785) 423-1990