A Missouri last will and testament is a document containing the last directions of its creator (called the testator). This legal instrument outlines how and by whom the testator’s assets will be allocated in the event of their death.
To be valid in this state, a last will must be signed be the testator in the presence of two competent witnesses, who should also sign the document afterwards. You have the option to notarize the document and make the will self-proving, which will facilitate the probate.
Here, we provide you with a fillable Missouri will template that you can download as a PDF or a DOC file. Additionally, you will find answers to some of the frequently asked questions, along with relevant laws and will requirements for this state.
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|Statutes||Chapter 474 – Probate Code – Intestate Succession and Wills|
|Signing requirement||Two witnesses||474.320. Will form, execution, attestation|
|Age of testator||18 or older (or emancipated minor)||474.310. Who may make will|
|Age of witnesses||18 or older||474.330. Who may witness will — effect of interest in will|
|Self-proving wills||Allowed||474.337. Written will self-proved, how|
|Handwritten wills||Recognized if witnessed according to the state law||474.320. Will form, execution, attestation|
|Oral wills||Recognized if meeting certain conditions||474.340. Nuncupative wills|
|Holographic wills||No statutes|
|Depositing a will||Possible with the probate division of any circuit court in a Missouri county, the fee is $3||474.510. Deposit of will in court in testator’s lifetime|
1. Think about your alternatives. Think if you want to write the whole document by hand (holographic will), work with a fillable will template available in PDF and DOC formats, or use our builder and create a personalized document by answering a series of simple questions. If your estate is quite large, you can also consult with a law firm beforehand.
2. Indicate your details. Establish the testator and their particulars: full legal name and address (city, county, and state). Go over the information you wrote along with the rest of the passage to see if everything is correct.
3. Designate the executor. This is the time to select the executor (personal representative) of your will. This person will be responsible for paying any outstanding debts and making sure your beneficiaries get what you bequeathed them. Specify the executor’s full legal name, as well as their residential information (city, county, and state).
Be sure to appoint somebody who lives in the same state as you do. If you don’t, there will be extra red tape in the process as a consequence of special regulations this state has relating to out-of-state executors. It could happen that your main representative will be unable to carry out your will due to an illness, death, disinclination, or other factors. To be on the safe side, you can decide on another executor by indicating the same details you did for the primary one.
Restrictions regarding executors in Missouri:
(For more details see 473.117)
Unlike some US states that make it illegal for anyone with felony convictions to be estate executors, a person convicted of a crime in the State of Missouri is qualified to serve as such after serving their prison sentence in full and meeting all conditions of parole.
4. Choose the guardian (optional). In case you have underage or dependent children and don’t wish the court to select a guardian for them when you are no longer on this Earth, it’s possible to appoint someone you know as a guardian for your children.
5. Specify your beneficiaries. At this stage, you should indicate people who will receive your assets. Enter their full names, places of residence, and your relationship with them (spouse, child, friend).
6. Allocate your property accordingly. Write down your assets and explain how you want to distribute them among your inheritors. Shared assets and your life insurance can’t be put into your will.
7. Sign the will and have it witnessed. Missouri Revised Statutes (474.320) stipulate that at the least two witnesses have to sign a will for it to be viewed as legally binding. Only someone who is of 18 years or older and is not among your beneficiaries (not mandatory but preferable due to some possible complications) could be picked as a witness.
It might be wise to name a witness who’s younger than you to be sure they will be there after you depart this life. After a thorough review of each paragraph in your will, all parties involved (you and your two witnesses) must fill out their names and full addresses and sign the will.
Yes, the Missouri statute affirms that a will is valid without having a notary public certify it.
In Missouri, a holographic will (fully handwritten by the testator) is valid only if witnessed by two competent adults and signed by the testator. So, it is better to go for a typewritten will in the end because holographic wills are prone to dispute. They’re a lot easier to contest in court than properly drafted ones.
The testator must fulfill testamentary capacity prerequisites in order to create and modify their will, including being of sound mind. The latter indicates that there aren’t any kinds of psychiatric disorders (dementia, senility, insanity, etc.) that prevent you from realizing fully the aftermaths of your doings. To be testamentary capable you have to:
No, in Missouri, there’s no such requirement. Nevertheless, attaching one may be quite useful as it removes the demand for witnesses’ testimony during probate, which eases the process substantially. Only if your will is contested may witnesses be summoned to court.
Yes, you can. Any person who wrote a will is allowed to alter or cancel his or her last will and testament anytime until their death. Use a codicil for something small, such as changing the name of your executor or adding a new piece of property to someone’s share. For bigger changes, creating a new will is recommended by most experts.
|Related documents||Instances when you might need to create one|
|Codicil||You want to slightly modify your last will without creating a new document from scratch.|
|Self-proving affidavit||You want the probate to be faster when the time comes.|
|Living will||You want to make sure that, if you become incapacitated, you are treated the way you’d like to.|
|Living trust||You want additional protection and confidentiality once the time to distribute your property comes.|