What is a Last Will and Testament


A Missouri Last Will and Testament, when prepared and executed properly by a person who is an adult of sound mind with legal responsibility for his- or herself, is a formal document that specifies how their assets or estate will be managed and distributed after their death. The person who dies is formally referred to as the decedent. If the decedent has minor children, the Last Will and Testament may also be used to designate who they want to care for their children and who they wish to handle their childrenís inheritance/finances until each child comes of age (usually 18, but you can designate a different age) to handle their finances on their own.

In a Last Will and Testament, the decedent usually also names a personal representativeóor co-personal representatives (two or more persons acting together in this capacity)óto manage the matters of the estate. The personal representative is the person who gathers all of the information about the decedentís debts and assets, pays outstanding debts using the assets on behalf of the estate, and ensures that the decedentís property is distributed as specified in the Will, so this is a job with a lot of responsibility, and the personal representative selected is usually someone the decedent really trusts to follow through on the details and with his or her wishes.

If a person dies without having a valid Last Will and Testament (which usuallyóin most statesómeans it must be properly witnessed, as wellónot just signed), someone will usually be appointed by the court to be the personal representative and will pay the decedentís debts, liquidizing assets as necessary to do so. Then the remaining assets will be distributed among the decedentís heirs according to the laws of the state the decedent lived in.

In some states, if one spouse dies leaving behind a husband or wife, that living spouse will inherit all of the decedentís property in the absence of a Last Will and Testament stating to the contrary. In other cases, the decedent may have specified a particular beneficiary to inherit a life insurance policy, retirement account, or other asset, and that beneficiary designation will dictate who receives those assets in the absence of a Missouri Last Will and Testament.

The important thing to note is that anyone who wishes to designate how their assets will be distributed after their death should prepare and properly execute a Last Will and Testament to ensure their wishes are known and honored. If they donít, they may be leaving it up to chance, the laws of the state in which they reside at the time of their death, or a court of law as to how their final affairs will be settled.  Missouri free information on last will and testament forms.

Legal Requirements for Last Wills in Missouri

Last Will and Testament is a paper of primary importance, no matter how old you are. It is most popular among senior adults and those citizens who are experiencing a terminal disease, though anyone possessing some personal assets might wish to create this document. Last Will is a legal tool that will help the executor share personal belongings, monetary funds, and real estate among the closest relatives or other inheritors mentioned in the form. Keep reading to learn more about how to create the Last Will in Missouri with no mistake.

There is a list of common requirements to follow hereunder:

  • You must be 18 years of age or older to establish this paper;

  • You have to be qualified of sound mind;

  • The document must be in writing (however, there are specific exceptions for oral testaments);

  • The document must not only be signed by the testator but also witnessed by two competent adults;

  • The witnesses cannot be beneficiaries;

  • You possess the right to leave your property to anyone they wish.

Still, to make sure that your form will become legally approved, do not hesitate to get expert advice from a specialist.

If you already executed the Last Will but changed your mind about some provisions in it, later on, you may choose not to change the whole paper completely. Opt for the codicil in the situation.

The Last Will may be revoked at any time. To do so, you have to cancel the previously signed paper. Take into consideration that if you were legally married when your Last Will was executed and then divorced, the provisions in favor of your ex-spouse will be automatically revoked.

There is no legal obligation to create a Last Will and Testament. In case you do not wish to do so, or the deceased person passed away without an opportunity to express their property-sharing preferences, the Missouri laws of intestacy begin to work. According to these laws, the surviving spouse is about to receive the entire state. In case there are shared descendants, the spouse will get 20,000 US dollars and half of the balance. The spouse will inherit half of the estate if the deceased intestate has other descendants not shared with the surviving spouse.

Make sure to understand the difference between the Last Will and Testament and the Living Will. The second one will not provide any instructions about how you wish your property to be divided but will include information about your medical treatment preferences. Living Will is an important document for those who are likely to become not capacitated to express their health care wishes in the foreseeable future.



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