· What is a Will and the Requirements of a Will in Missouri:
A will is a legal document that sets out who is to inherit property on the death of the person making the will, termed the testator. Anyone at least 18 years old can make a will in Missouri. To be valid in the Missouri, the document must be signed by the testator, and that signature must be witnessed by two adults (more on that below).
Although a last will and testament is not legally required, without a will, the laws of intestacy (Intestacy is the condition of the estate of a person who dies without having in force a valid will or other binding declaration) determine the distribution of an estate's assets. Because the outcome may not coincide with the decedent's wishes, it is generally advisable to create a last will and testament.
Missouri Law Requirements of a Will Include:
The living will must be in writing
It must be dated
Principal must be a competent person
It must be signed by the principal (the person to whom the living will applies)
If not signed “wholly” in the principal’s handwriting, it must be witnessed by two adults
and your witnesses must sign your will in front of you.
Someone who dies without a will is called “intestate,” which invokes the strict laws of intestacy. In Missouri in the absence of a will, a surviving spouse inherits the entire estate unless the decedent also has descendants shared with the spouse, in which case the spouse takes the first $20,000 of the estate plus half the balance. If the decedent has descendants not shared with the spouse, the spouse takes half of the estate.
If you have questions about a Will, contact us today to schedule a free consultation. We offer an expediated solution to the process of creating a valid Will that can be completed via online communication. We have offices the Kansas City metro at 19401 East 40 Highway Suite 130 Independence, MO 64055 and Joplin area at 214 W. 5th St. Joplin, MO 66401.