Making a Missouri Will: What You Need to Know and How to Get Started
• A will allows you to choose how you want to distribute your
property after you die.
• If you have young children you can also use your will to select
a guardian who will care for them should you die.
• You can also nominate the person who will manage your
estate through the probate process.
make the will
You have to
You have to
sign the will
• Also known as holographic wills,
these are allowed for in a minority of
states. Handwritten wills are made
entirely in the testator’s handwriting.
• Missouri actually allows for oral wills,
also called nuncapative wills, but
only under very limited
circumstances. In practice, almost
no one uses this type will.
• Anyone aged 18 or older can make a will in Missouri.
You can also make a will if you are legally emancipated
or an active duty military member under the age of 18.
• You can only make a will if you are a sound mind. This
means you are able to reason and make decisions on
your own. If you are, for example, suffering from
Alzheimer’s disease or another medical condition that
robs you of your cognitive abilities, you may or may
not be of sound mind.
• Your will should include the name of the person
you choose to manage your property after you
die. The probate process is a legal process that
governs wills and the distribution of estate
property. The estate representative, also called
an executor or personal representative,
represents the estate during this legal process.
• Parents with minor children should name a
guardian in their wills. The guardian will take
care of your children should you die while they
are still young.
• Even if you have never made a will
before, your will should include a clause
that clearly revokes any prior documents
so the court can be sure the will
represents your last wishes.
• If you and your spouse should die at the
same time you will want a clause in your
will that addresses simultaneous death.
This will avoid the necessity of your
property having to go through two probate
• You cannot completely disinherit a spouse
in Missouri. Missouri laws provide your
spouse with the legal right to inherit at
least a portion of your property.
• Like your spouse, you also cannot
completely disinherit minor children,
though you can disinherit adult children.
• You can create a new will and revoke the old one by
including a revocation clause in the new one.
• If you want to make minor changes you can create a
codicil, a separate legal document that must meet the
same requirements as a will but which modifies some of
the will’s terms.
• Living wills and health care powers of attorney will ensure that your
medical wishes will be honored if you ever become deathly ill or
• A financial power of attorney will give someone the ability to
manage your finances in the event you are unable to do so.
Powers of Attorney
• There are a variety of trusts you can use to both eliminate the need
for your estate to go through probate and to provide yourself and
your family with significant financial and tax benefits.