A Missouri Last Will and Testament is crucial in safeguarding your family’s future and ensuring the fulfillment of your final wishes. This legally binding document allows you to outline the distribution of your assets after your passing and make essential decisions about your estate, such as designating a guardian for any minor children.
In Missouri, a Last Will and Testament serves as a blueprint for managing and allocating your possessions, allowing you to clearly specify the recipients of your assets and how they should be distributed. Additionally, the document can be used to appoint a trusted individual as the executor of your estate, who will be responsible for carrying out your instructions.
To ensure the validity and effectiveness of your Will, it is essential to store the original document in a secure location that is easily accessible to your loved ones. Providing copies to any named executors or trustees is also highly recommended.
Requirements for Last Wills in Missouri
To ensure the validity of a Last Will and Testament in Missouri, the document must stick to the following Missouri Law requirements:
- Age of the Testator: In Missouri, individuals who are at least 18 years old, an emancipated minor, minors in a marriage, or those on active military duty, and of sound mind, are eligible to create a Will.
- Written Format: The will must be presented in a written format, either typewritten or handwritten. In either case, the document must be legible.
- Signatures: The testator must sign the will in the presence of two disinterested witnesses, who are also required to sign the document.
- Witness Eligibility: The witnesses cannot be beneficiaries of the will, ensuring an impartial validation process.
- Handwritten Will: If the will is handwritten, it must be entirely in the testator’s handwriting. Alternatively, three competent witnesses who are not beneficiaries can sign the document instead of two.
- Oral Wills: An oral will must be declared before two witnesses, and the value of the real and personal property disposed of cannot exceed $500.
By adhering to these requirements, you can ensure that your Will in Missouri is valid and legally binding, allowing your final wishes to be carried out as intended.
How to Fill Out a Missouri Last Will Form
Creating a Last Will and Testament in Missouri involves several critical steps to ensure that the legal document is valid and accurately reflects the testator’s wishes. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you fill out a Will in Missouri:
Step 1 – Obtain the Missouri Last Will form.
The testator should begin by acquiring the appropriate form for a Missouri Last Will and Testament.
Step 2 – Identify the beneficiaries.
In the first section of the will, the testator needs to clearly list all beneficiaries who will receive assets from their estate, including real and personal property. The testator should also provide specific instructions on distributing the assets among the beneficiaries.
Step 3 – Appoint an executor.
The testator must appoint an executor in their own will. This is the person who will be responsible for carrying out the testator’s final wishes. Executors can be spouses, family members, friends, or professional advisors if the testator trusts them to fulfill their responsibilities.
Step 4 – Designate a guardian (if applicable).
If the testator has minor children, it’s essential to appoint a legal guardian in the will, especially if there is no surviving spouse to assume the role of guardian. The guardian will be responsible for the care and well-being of the children in the event of the testator’s death.
Step 5 – Outline any specific bequests or conditions.
The testator may include any particular bequests or conditions in the will, such as leaving a specific item of personal property to a named individual or setting up a trust for a beneficiary. Detailed instructions help ensure that the testator’s wishes are followed accurately.
Step 6 – Sign the will.
The testator must sign the legal document in the presence of two impartial witnesses who are not beneficiaries of the will. These witnesses must also sign the document, acknowledging the testator’s signature and their presence during the signing.
Step 7 – Store the will in a secure location.
Once completed and signed, the original will should be stored in a safe and accessible location, such as a fireproof safe or a safety deposit box. Inform the executor and close family members of the will’s location to ensure that it can be found when needed.
By following these steps, you can successfully create a Last Will in Missouri that reflects your wishes and provides guidance for the distribution of your estate after your passing.
Do I need a lawyer to make a will in Missouri?
While it is not legally required to have a lawyer create a Last Will and Testament in Missouri, consulting with an attorney can be beneficial to ensure the document is accurate, comprehensive, and complies with all state requirements. If your estate is complex, involves significant assets, or has potential conflicts among beneficiaries, it’s advisable to seek legal assistance.
On average, how much would it cost for me to make a Will in Missouri?
The cost of creating a Last Will in Missouri can vary depending on the method and the complexity of the estate. The cost can be minimal or even free if you choose to draft a will using online resources or templates. However, if you opt to consult with an attorney, the fees can range from $200 to $1,000 or more, depending on the lawyer’s experience and your estate’s complexity.
Do I need to have my will notarized?
No, In Missouri, having your Will notarized is not a legal requirement.
What should I do after I write the will?
After completing your Missouri Last Will and Testament, store the original document in a secure, easily accessible location. Inform your executor and close family members of the will’s location to ensure they can find it when needed. It’s also essential to review and update your will regularly to reflect any changes in your life circumstances, such as marriages, divorces, births, or significant changes in assets.
Does a Last Will and Testament need to be filed in Missouri?
In Missouri, a Last Will and Testament does not need to be filed or registered with any government agency while the testator is alive. However, after the testator’s death, the will must be filed with the appropriate Probate Division of the Circuit Court in the county where the testator resided. The court will then oversee the probate process, which includes validating the will, appointing an executor if necessary, and ensuring the proper asset distribution. In some cases, a simplified probate process may be available for smaller estates or when a surviving spouse is a sole beneficiary, making the distribution of assets more efficient.