Photo of Betty Hartzel Schaefer

Betty Hartzel Schaefer


“Every case is different, but if there’s a controversy or issue regarding a probate estate or a trust case, my experience with the court can help me make the arguments I believe will be most persuasive.”


  • Missouri
  • Illinois


J.D., Saint Louis University School of Law, cum laude, 1995

B.A., Political Science, Northwestern University, 1991


Betty Schaefer knows firsthand what arguments are more likely to be effective in probate court — she previously worked as legal counsel to the St. Louis County Probate Division. Today, she uses that experience and her extensive knowledge of the probate and trust codes to help clients resolve issues as efficiently and effectively as possible.

Betty’s ability to analyze the big picture in resolving disputes makes her a highly effective mediator, and she focuses a significant portion of her practice on mediation and handling contested probate and trust matters. With the complex family dynamics and emotions involved in these cases, her experience with the process and understanding of the rights of beneficiaries and the duties of fiduciaries are invaluable to ensuring issues are resolved smoothly and appropriately.

Betty helps clients with estate and trust administration matters, as well as estate planning and trust funding needs. She has helped clients with estate and trust controversies, particularly in the areas of probate, trust, and fiduciary litigation, and she has been appointed by local courts as a neutral third party or special fiduciary in numerous trust and estate disputes.  Betty also assists clients with their estate planning needs, including special needs estate planning.

She also assists financial institutions with issues related to probate and trust administration, as well as advising them in their roles as corporate fiduciaries.

In her previous position with the probate court, Betty analyzed cases and advised attorneys on their options for handling matters before the court. She also focused on guardianship and conservatorship proceedings for minors and adults. This experience helped her develop inside-and-out knowledge of both the probate and trust codes, and that understanding — paired with a broad base of courtroom experience — helps her focus on effective arguments related to estate and trust controversies and litigation.

Professional Affiliations

  • American Bar Association
  • The Missouri Bar
  • Illinois State Bar Association
  • Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis
  • St. Louis County Bar Association
  • Estate Planning Council
  • St. Louis County Probate Advisory Committee

Community/Civic Activities

  • Missouri Families for Effective Autism Treatment (MO-FEAT), Board of Directors

Honors & Awards

Honors & Awards

  • The Best Lawyers in America, Trusts and Estates, 2021-2024

News & Insights

Seminars & Speaking Engagements

  • The Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis' 31st Annual Trust & Estates Planning Institute, September 10, 2020
  • St. Louis 15 Hour Review of the Law, Probate Practice Update, Time is Now! Series 2019
    University of Missouri-Kansas City, June 2019
  • St. Louis 15 Hour Review of the Law, Probate Law Update, Time is Now! Series 2018
    University of Missouri-Kansas City, June 2018

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