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Missouri Last Will and Testament Template

Create your last will and testament forms easily from home and in under an hour with FindLaw’s guided process.

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Missouri will options to suit your family

Basic Will

A last will template that covers the essentials

FREE

Template has limited personalization

What’s included:
  • A fillable template that meets basic needs
  • Compliant with your state’s laws

Last Will and Testament

For One Person

A do-it-yourself last will that’s easy to personalize.

$99
What’s included:
  • Step-by-step guided process
  • Attorney-approved document compliant with your state’s laws
  • A last will and testament that’s customized to your wishes
  • Free changes and revisions to your will for up to one full year after purchase

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Estate Planning Package

For One person

All the forms you need to create a personal estate plan

$189
What’s included:
  • Last will and testament
  • Health care directive
  • Power of attorney
  • Free HIPAA release form
  • A comprehensive plan — for less
  • Free changes and revisions for up to one year after purchase

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Reliable Missouri will forms fast

If you die without a will in Missouri, your property will be distributed according to state law (“intestacy laws“). Under intestacy law, your property will go to your spouse and children, then to more distant relatives. These laws may not align perfectly with your family’s needs, particularly if you have a blended family, an unmarried partner, family strife, or other special circumstances.

A will allows you to control the people or charities who will receive your assets and name a caregiver for your children. With FindLaw’s forms you can express your wishes officially, customize inheritance access for minor beneficiaries, and secure your estate with explicit disinheritance, avoiding legal complications.

Take advantage of our free Missouri last will and testament template. You can download, edit, and print the sample form in PDF and Word.

Kimberly_Lekman_image

Written by:

Kimberly Lekman, Esq.

Contributing Author

Reviewed by:

John Devendorf, Esq.

Contributing Author

How It Works

It only takes minutes to control your future. Need help? Contact one of our directory attorneys.

Create an account

Create a secure account which is accessible through an easy dashboard you can access any time.

Gather information

You will need a list of your assets, contact information for important people, and any wishes you want to be honored when you’re gone.

Complete your documents

Answer all questions, then we’ll generate your digital documents for downloading, printing, and signing.

Make it legal

Carefully follow the instructions provided in the form, which may include signing your documents in front of witnesses or a notary.

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Plan for your future with confidence

This free guide will help you:

  • Learn the most common estate planning terms

  • Understand the essential estate planning tools

  • Gather critical information with an estate planning checklist

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What’s next to make my Missouri will valid?

If you want a will, you can hire a lawyer or use a will form from a reliable source. If you use a form, follow these steps:

Choose an executor

Your executor or personal representative is the person who will pay off your debts with estate assets and distribute your property in accordance with your will. They do this through a court-supervised process called probate. You should choose an executor you trust, who is willing to follow through with these duties. Many people choose a close relative like a sibling, adult child, or spouse for this role. It is a good idea to name an alternate executor just in case your first choice is unable to perform the task.

Choose your beneficiaries

Your beneficiaries are the people or entities you (the “testator”) would like to receive your property after you die. Depending on your family situation, you might choose to name a trust or a charitable organization as a beneficiary. If you have minor children, you can create a trust for them and leave money to the trust. When you leave your assets in a trust, it allows a trustee to manage the finances on the beneficiary’s behalf. For loved ones with special needs, you might consider setting up a special needs trust to manage their finances in combination with any governmental assistance payments. There is another special type of trust for the care of animals called a “pet trust.” With a pet trust, you can use set aside money for the care of your beloved animals after your death.

List your assets

Your assets include all of your real property and personal property. Real property refers to real estate like homes and land that you own. Personal property covers all of your other possessions like vehicles, jewelry, furniture, and accounts. If you would like specific items to go to specific beneficiaries, you should note this in your will. Under Missouri law, you can refer in your will to a separate list to itemize personal property. However, you must be sure to date the list. You must also either sign it or write it entirely in your own handwriting. Finally, the list must describe the property with reasonable certainty.

List your debts

When your estate goes into probate, your creditors can make claims for payments out of the value of your estate. To help your executor manage your creditors’ claims, you should provide a list of your debts. Common personal debts include mortgages, credit cards, personal loans, and tax obligations.

List your non-probate assets

Not all property can be transferred through a will. If you have a life insurance policy, annuities, trusts, or retirement accounts with named beneficiaries, they will pass directly to the beneficiaries you named on those policies. Further, if you own any properties jointly, those properties will pass directly to your joint owners. You cannot change these designations through your will. A list of non-probate assets will help your executor distribute and catalog your estate.

Choose guardians for minor children

You should name guardians to take care of your dependent children and their inheritance as part of your last will and testament. It can give you peace of mind to know that your children will have good caretakers just in case anything were to happen to you.

Sign your will and store it in a safe place.

You should sign your will, or direct someone to sign it for you, in the presence of at least two competent witnesses who then sign the will. Your witnesses should be people who do not stand to gain anything from your will (disinterested witnesses). If you choose beneficiaries to witness your will, they can lose their inheritance under Missouri law. After signing your will, you should give a copy to your executor and keep a copy in a safe place that trusted loved ones know about.

You may want to speak with a lawyer if you:

  • Have a past divorce, blended family, or other complex family situation
  • Have a high-value estate
  • Own a business
  • Want to create a special needs trust
  • Want legal review of your completed will
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Commonly asked questions about Missouri wills

A will in Missouri has to fulfill a few requirements to be considered legally valid:

  • Mental capacity: You must be of sound mind when you sign your will.
  • Writing: Your will should be in writing and you should sign your will or direct someone to sign it for you.
  • Witnesses: There must be at least two witnesses present when you sign your will. They must also sign, and they should not be beneficiaries of your will.
  • Age: You must be at least 18 years old or an emancipated minor to make a valid will.

A fully handwritten, unwitnessed will is called a “holographic will.” In some states, if the testator writes the entire will in their own handwriting, it is considered valid even though it is not witnessed.

Missouri, however, does not recognize holographic wills as valid legal wills. The exception to this would be if you wrote your holographic will in a state where it was valid and then brought it to Missouri.

A will that is fully handwritten in Missouri can be valid if it is witnessed by two disinterested witnesses. But handwriting can be difficult to interpret and can lead to will challenges and delays in the probate process.

You should not rely on a handwritten will in Missouri. To avoid the uncertainty and legal problems that result from a handwritten will, you should sign a printed will in front of two witnesses who will also sign the will. With FindLaw’s easy guided process, you can create a will quickly and without even leaving your home.

An oral will is only valid in Missouri if the testator is at risk of imminent death. Then it is known as a “nuncupative will.” For a nuncupative oral will to be valid, there are several other requirements:

  • The testator must state that it is their will in front of at least two disinterested witnesses.
  • One of the witnesses must put the will into writing within 30 days of hearing it.
  • The will must go to probate within six months of the testator’s death.
  • The will can only distribute personal property, not real estate. The nuncupative will can only be used to distribute estate assets worth $500 or less.
  • A nuncupative will is only valid if the testator died from the risk that caused them to make the oral will.
  • A nuncupative will cannot revoke or modify a written will. However, you can revoke a nuncupative will with another nuncupative will.

Due to the restrictive rules on nuncupative wills, they should only be used as a last resort.

Under Missouri law, if you disinherit your spouse or leave them a nominal gift, they can claim an elective share of your estate. Your spouse has the right to claim half of the estate if you have no descendants (children or grandchildren). If you have descendants, then your spouse has the right to claim a third of your estate.

Divorce also impacts your will’s designations. If you get divorced after you created your will, Missouri law voids any gifts you left to your former spouse in your will.

It’s a good idea to review and revise your will if you go through significant life events like marriage or divorce. If you do not revise your will after major life changes, a probate court may distribute your assets in ways that do not match your preferences. When you create your will through FindLaw, you can make unlimited changes to it for a year after purchase.

No, your Missouri will does not have to be notarized to be legally valid. However, if you would like to have a self-proving will, you will need a notary public’s services.

When a will is self-proving, it means that a probate court can automatically accept the will as authentic. It does not have to call your witnesses to testify that it is your legal will.

To get a self-proving will, you and your witnesses need to swear to an affidavit in front of a notary public. Missouri statutes provide a sample of a blank self-proving affidavit that you should bring to your notary. Having a self-proving will is a good idea because it relieves your witnesses from having to testify to the authenticity of your will. Further, it can save on legal fees and hassles for your loved ones.

To change your will, you can either create a new will or write an amendment (known as a “codicil“). If you are making simple changes to your will, a codicil will be sufficient. You should sign a codicil in front of two competent witnesses, just as you did with your initial will.

If you would like to make major changes, or if a significant life event has occurred since you made your will, you should create a new will. Significant life situations may include divorce, birth of a child, or sale of a business. With FindLaw, you can make unlimited changes to your will for a full year after purchase.

If you would like to completely revoke a Missouri will, you can do so by tearing it up, burning it, or otherwise physically destroying it with the intention to revoke. You can also revoke your will by creating a new will that revokes all prior wills. If you create a new will, you should let your loved ones know and you make sure to give a copy to your executor.

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