Estate planning can help you protect your financial assets. If you die without a will in Missouri, then you and your heirs may suffer severe consequences. However, many individuals in Missouri do not have estate plans, and many people in the State of Missouri die without making a will. Making a will means that your heirs will have directions regarding how to dispose of your assets after your death. Dying without a will means that you and your heirs will not have the ability to determine how your assets are distributed after your death.
The Laws of Intestacy in the State of Missouri
Intestacy laws apply to decedents who die intestate. To die “intestate” means to die without having made a valid will. States have unique laws applicable to probate administration, estates, and testamentary instruments. State laws in Missouri will dictate the rights held by decedents and their heirs. The laws of intestacy are used to guide how assets are distributed at death for decedents who die intestate.
Having a last will and testament will ensure that your assets are distributed in accordance with your wishes. Also, trusts are commonly used by families to avoid probate administration altogether. It is financially costly to go through probate administration, and it can also consume large amounts of time. Therefore, one of the greatest benefits of sound estate planning is being able to avoid probate administration.
Following the Will Formalities in the State of Missouri
Every jurisdiction has will formalities that must be followed to create a legally valid will. For example, in the State of Missouri, a will must be witnessed by two individuals who are both eighteen years of age or older. When you create a will in Missouri you can include your possessions, money, and estate. Also, you are permitted to name guardians of your children in your will. You may also include specific directions regarding your burial and the disposition of your physical remains.
You can create a will yourself or you can have an estate planning attorney draft a will for you. You do not have to notarize a will for it to be legally valid in the State of Missouri. The will must be signed by the testator, and if this requirement is not met then a will cannot be legally valid.
Storing A Will In a Safe Place
It is important to keep estate planning documents such as wills and trusts in a secure yet accessible place. A probate court will typically want to see an original copy of a will before it begins the probate administration process. Also, if the court cannot locate your will after your death, then it is likely that the probate court will conclude that you revoked the will. A lawyer can keep signed copies of your will in case the original copy of the will is destroyed.
You can always update your will and amend the contents. An estate planning lawyer can help you draft a codicil, which will amend your will without altering the entire will. A codicil enables you to retain the will provisions you favor and alter specific provisions so the codicil reflects your wishes.