What Can Your Last Will and Testament in Missouri
Ever asked someone with a questionable sense of humor what they would put down if they were to create a will today? Well, it turns out that for one reason or another one, one could use a will to throw a huge party or building a home for their cats. Now, while these reasons make sense to the person creating the will, they do not scratch the surface of what we are about to dig deeper into.
For us, a last will and testament represents a legal instrument that you use to outline your wishes regarding asset distribution and child protection. It is a powerful document respected by the courts, and the best bit is that it contains your wishes. And, as long as no one contests the will, you could build that house for your cats.
However, its validity is subject to the conditions of code section 474.310, et seq. of the state laws which highlight the following conditions: the will should be dated and signed. The testator (person creating the will) should be at least 18 years old and of sound mind, and also acting out of their own volition. The signing of the will should be witnessed by 2 adults who attest to the testator signing the will.
A will should be in writing although some unique circumstances warrant the use of oral (nuncupative) wills as well as holographic wills. In case you are wondering, the holographic will are wholly handwritten wills.
The will also needs to list the beneficiaries, guardians for minor kids, or an executor of your estate.
How to get started
While the laws of Missouri accept the use of handwritten wills, as long as it is proven that you created the will, we recommend getting a free Missouri last will and testament form then populate it with all the information you need to make the will valid.
Ensure that the will is as per the provisions of the law and it has witnesses. Holographic or oral wills are the only ones that do not require witnesses for validity.
Possible uses of the will
Creating testamentary trusts
If you have minor kids or pets, you could use the will to create a testamentary trust. It is irrevocable, and it outlines the conditions for the use of the trust, age at which your kid could access that money or even how long your pet remains covered and cared for by the funds in the will. Many times, a pet trust expires when the animal dies. The testamentary trusts are effectuated under the supervision of the probate court when the executor files the will. At the appointment of the executor, the probate court will also appoint a trustee for the trust created
Appointment of guardians
Should you die single or if you pass away alongside your spouse, you will want your minor kids cared for, right? That means that you should know of someone trustworthy enough to take up parenting responsibilities. Speak to them about your request then name them as guardians.
A guardian will also protect and manage your kids' inheritance. So, be careful. Note that in these circumstances and in the absence of a will, the probate court will assign custody to any party it deems fit.
It protects your wishes and grants you control that expands beyond your death
Would you like to keep your assets in the family, gift a charitable organization, make business succession plans, or take care of a close friend or even an orphan you have been caring for? Get a free last will and testament in Missouri. This document will protect your wishes and ensure that they are executed.
The probate process
Upon your demise, the appointed executor will file your will in the court-supervised court process for distribution of assets (probate court) where the will is checked for validity. Note that an executor has to file the will with the Probate division of the Circuit Court within one year after the testator's passing.
If valid, the court appoints the executor officially, and after appointment, an executor manages the estate - pays debts and taxes for the estate, and then they distribute the assets as per the will.
On the other hand, if the estate is worth less than $40,000, a simplified probate process is set in motion.
What happens if you don't create a will?
- The state takes over, and it invokes the intestacy laws which make your property intestate and your heirs: intestate heirs. Under these laws, the following will happen:
- The whole estate goes to the surviving spouse unless there are kids involved.
- With kids or other dependents present, the spouse gets $20,000 and half of what remains after the deduction.
- If there are kids from another relationship, then the spouse gets half the estate and kids half.
- Without surviving kids, spouse or parents, the siblings or grandparents are next in line for inheritance.
It sounds like you need a will, right? Let us simplify the process by granting you access to our free last will and testament forms in Missouri. You could get one today!