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Wills

A will also called a “last will and testament,” can help you protect your family and your assets. You can use a will to do a variety of things including:

  • Leaving your property to people or organizations

  • Name a personal guardian to care for your minor children

  • Name a trusted person to manage property you leave to your minor children; and

  • Name an executor, the person who makes sure that the terms of your will are carried out.

Do you need a lawyer to make a will in Missouri?

No. Technically, you do not need a lawyer to make your will for you in Missouri. However, it is highly advised that you do. In fact, most “make-your-own-will” products tell you it is wise to do so.

You can find Missouri’s law about making will here: Missouri Revised Statutes Title XXXI Trusts and Estates of Decedents and Persons Under Disability Chapter 474 Probate Code - Intestate Succession and Wills.

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Can I revoke or change my will?

Yes. In Missouri, you may revoke or change your will at any time. You can revoke your will by:

  • Burning, canceling, tearing, or obliterating the will (Note: not the best option);

  • Ordering someone else to burn, cancel, tear, or obliterate the will in front of you (Note: an even worse option, but still an option); or

  • Making a new will (Note: BEST OPTION.)

In cases requiring only small changes, you can add an amendment to your existing will called a codicil. Ultimately if you need to change or revoke your will, the best option is to contact an attorney

What happens if you die without a will in Missouri?

In Missouri, if you die without a will, your property will be distributed according to Missouri’s “intestacy” laws. Missouri's intestacy law gives your property to your closest relatives, beginning with your spouse and children. If you have neither a spouse nor children, your grandchildren or your parents will get your property. No grandchildren or parents living? The list continues with increasingly distant relatives, including siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins of any degree, great grandparents, great aunts or uncles, and so on. If the court exhausts this list to find that you have no living relatives by blood or marriage, the state will take your property.

You can find Missouri's intestate succession laws in Sections 474.010 to 474.110 of the Missouri Statutes. You can search the statutes from the website of the Missouri General Assembly.

Now what?

Contact us at Fortman Law. We will simplify your options into an easy, affordable plan that meets you and your family’s needs. The first step is to contact us and set up your initial complimentary meeting. At Fortman Law we offer in-person (including a “we come to you” option) and virtual meeting options. Just let us know which you would prefer!