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Scott C. Stockwell

Scott C. Stockwell

Ad Astra Legal LC Law Office
  • Estate Planning, Probate, Elder Law...
  • 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
  • Estate Planning
  • Probate
  • Elder Law
  • Real Estate Law
  • Business 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
63 Questions Answered

Q. In residential real estate closings in Kansas, it is not allowed to provide the seller a physical check at closing...
A: The normal course of a real estate transaction involving an escrow agent is for the deed and buyer’s funds to enter escrow (with all executed documents) and for the deed to be filed and for the escrow agent (title company, typically) to confirm that no documents have been filed since preliminary title search. If a document is filed before the deed that calls into question whether buyer is receiving good title, seller would have failed in his or her responsibility to provide good title. Good title must be confirmed before the escrowed funds are distributed. That is the sequence that is critical. Whether funds may be picked up or sent by express delivery may relate more to the title company’s standard protocol. A seller should feel free to ask whether there is a regulation that would require one method or the other and for a citation to the specific protocol.
Q. Can an administrator of an estate make monetary decisions with out notifying the beneficiaries
A: An administrator is subject to the oversight of a probate judge. If the estate is one of "simplified administration", there is less supervision required than under normal administration. All administrators have a fiduciary responsibility to act in the best interest of the estate, its creditors, and the beneficiaries. If an administrator is acting in an interested manner or favoring one heir, creditor, or a third party over those persons or the estate to whom a fiduciary duty is owed, the court may call the adminstrator to account. There are certain reports and filings (for example, an inventory and valuation and a final accounting) that are required of an administrator regardless of the type of administration. You should consult with an experienced probate attorney to determine whether the fiduciary is meeting the obligations imposed by the office and the law applicable to the specific administration. If you have questions, you shouldn't wait to consult an attorney. Some actions, once taken, can affect the estate in ways that are hard to determine the cost to the estate. A judge may be reluctant to second-guess an administrator in absence of a clear record shwing bad faith.
Q. I'm going to prepare a will and have a question concerning inheritance tax on my home.
A: You are planning on writing a will. A will is a document that--in Kansas at least--is given no legal effect until it is probated in a court after the person who wrote the will (the “testator”) has passed away. When you pass, and the will is filed with the court and determined to be valid, the terms of the will will control who receives the asset or the proceeds from the sale of the asset. Making a transfer to an adult child while the owner is still living causes the house to be transferred outside the terms of the will. Generally speaking, there are reasons why a person who is planning their estate should pause and think before making such a lifetime transfer. The person receiving the transfer is generally not obligated to share the asset with the persons you direct in your will. The child recipient of a lifetime transfer receives the appreciated property with the same tax basis for capital gains purposes as the person who transferred it, possibly leading to a capital gains liability when the property is sold (as compared to little or none if the house is sold after the death and inheritance). If that person to whom a transfer is made has creditors now or later who are owed money, the asset may be at risk to pay the obligations of the debtor child. [Note: There may be protections afforded by homestead claims, but those are more complex that can be fully described here.] The child (and the child’s present or future spouse) may impede the parent’s ability to sell the property when later needed. There are considerations as to possible future Medicaid eligibility that should be taken into account in establishing a plan. You should have the advice of an estate planning attorney who can learn about the details of your personal situation and fashion a plan that meets your specific needs. One estate planning tool that might be appropriate for you and an attorney to consider is a revocable living trust. With a revocable living trust, the assets are held for the benefit of the grantor during the grantor’s lifetime, but transfer to the children or other surviving beneficiaries after the owner has passed. The capital gains benefit of a revocable trust is similar to that of a will alone. In certain cases, if the planning is fully effective, the assets may be transferred without having to open a probate estate at all, saving substantial legal and administrative fees. You should seek the advice of an attorney in putting together your final plan. Someone in a similar circumstance might want to consider a revocable living grust that allows for the son to serve as a trustee for the house. But the sone would be acting as a
Q. Do we have to go through probate court or can we get a decree of descent?
A: Depending upon the size or value of the estate, the potential claims against the estate, and the agreement among the possible heirs, there are several options availiable to the heirs at law. Simplified adminstration allows for minimizing the oversight of the court and is generally available if the case does not require complex administration beyond the experience of the administrator, there are adquate assets to pay potential claims, and there is an agreement between the heirs. If no probate estate has been opened within six months of the date of death, a decree of descent allows for a single petition/notice/order procedure to transfer the assets to the heirs or their designated beneficiaires; during that six month period, no person has the authority to act on behalf of the estate. In certain circumstances, informal administration may be an appropriate single filing case to transfer property prior to the six months having passed (subject to creditors claims if a creditor surfaces prior to the six months having passed and causes an estate to be opened). You should have the assistance of an experienced attorney to select the best option and to prepare the filings for the court.
Q. How can I use the Kansas simplified estates act for my mom's estate? I am an only child and she was divorced.
A: Simplified estates probate procedure is designed to assist people with circumstances similar to yours. One or several heir(s)/beneficiary(ies)/legatee(s)/devisee(s) whose interests and relationships are in alignment; fixed assets (as opposed to an ongoing business), the amount of assets, the solvency of the estate, and the probable costs of administration. Depending upon circumstances, there may be other options for handling the estate (such as determination of descent, for example) that you might want to explore. You need the assistance of an attorney to evaluate which option is the best combination of convenience, cost, and effectiveness. It is a good idea to consult with an attorney as soon as possible. Steps may be needed to secure the assets until they may be transferred to you.
Q. My Mother in law passed away
A: If there is a will, it should be filed with the court within six months of the date of death. Notice will be provided to persons with a potential interest in the estate and a hearing date will be set. If no one opposes the probate of the will, it will be probated as a valid will and an executor (or administrator with the will attached) will be appointed. Creditors will have a period of four months from the filing of the petition to make claims against the estate. The spouse will have the right to assert certain claims against the estate (e.g., homestead, spousal share; spousal election) and the court will have a process to determine the spousal rights. After creditors' claims are processed and the spousal rights have been determined, the balance of the estate would be disposed of in accorance with the terms of the will. There are a lot of variables involved, such as the size of the estate, the specific provisions of the will, the spousal rights, and creditor's claims, that could affect what the spouse receives and what the children or other persons named as beneficiaries of the will's provisions might receive. You should consult with an attorney as soon as possible and establishe a plan of action. .
Q. If there is a lien on a house, can we keep adding joint tenants, generation after generation to pass on the home?
A: It is not unusual for a mortgage and/or a promissory note to have a provision that accelerates the debt obligation upon the transfer of an interest in the property to another person. To answer your question, you would want to know the specifics of the promissory note and mortgage in question. As a practical matter, mortgage companies do not frequently accelerate mortgages upon a transfer if the loan in being repaid on a timely basis, regardless of whether the mortgage or promissory note has an acceleration clause. There are plenty of reasons why creating a joint tenancy as an estate planning tool is a bad idea. Other than adding a spouse (without the complication of stepchildren), joint tenancy is generally a second-rate estate planning option as compared to other, more practical tools. Your mother should seek advice of an estate planning attorney to determine the best method of providing for a future transfer. A transfer on death deed, creation of a revocable living trust, a will, and a sale with favorable terms would all be possibilities that could potentially provide a better option than a joint tenancy.
Q. Me and my brother are in probate because our father died..I recently just signed a consent and waiver now what?
A: There are several different procedures under which the probate proceeding could have been filed. You indicate you recently signed a consent and waiver and that a final settlement was filed. Any person who has an interest in the estate should keep informed about the progress the probate proceeding. Essential information about an estate includes an asset inventory and valuation that is filed with the court. The inventory and valuation would identify what assets are held by the estate and the estimated value of those assets. A second piece of important information about the estate would be a list of the claims made against the estate by creditors and if and when those claims have been approved by the court. The inventory and valuation and the list of approved claims provides a picture of the approximate net worth of the estate. A petition for final settlement with an attached accounting is where the executor or administrator would identify costs of administration (such as legal fees, executor or administrator fees, and expenses) would need to be deducted from the net worth of the estate and the plan for distribution of the estate's assets to the beneficiaries of the estate. A person providing a waiver and consent would typically want to see the sources of information described above to inform the decision to provide a waiver and consent.
Q. If my LLC is sued, is my other property, not in the LLC, protected from any liability?
A: If a limited liability company is properly formed, operated, and capitalized, a judgment against the LLC would not normally be enforceable against the individual members of the LLC. You should consult with legal counsel to determine whether the company has been properly formed, operated, and capitalized.
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Lawrence, KS 66049
Telephone: (785) 842-1359
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