It's a hard topic to talk about but planning for your death with the right documents is part of caring for your family members in the future. If you have a spouse, children or living parents, it's a good idea to have a well-written will in place. A will can offer you peace of mind by knowing you've put your affairs in order and communicated your preferences to those you love.
In addition to passing along money and possessions, a comprehensive will allows you to express your intentions, protect your assets and save your family members from potential stress after your death.
In Missouri, a will is valid with the following requirements:
- The individual creating the will-the testator is 18 or older (or an emancipated minor, meaning married or in active military duty).
- The testator is of sound mind.
- The will is signed by the testator.
- The will is signed by two witnesses in front of the testator, preferably by two people who are not beneficiaries to the will.
- The document is in writing, either typed or hand-written.
Why do I need one?
A will gives you the chance to address details that might otherwise be missed, such as who gets the antique china cabinet, grandma's jewelry or the living room artwork. You can also designate a guardian for your minor children, name a caretaker for your pet or leave money to a charity.
Even if your estate is small, a will can help to address unexpected expenses and reimbursements that may arise after your death. When you create a will, you designate an executor, who would then have the authority to properly handle financial matters.
It's important to have your intentions summarized in formal documents, as casual conversation with family members may not guarantee that your wishes will be honored. A will eliminates any possible contention between family members- it's one thing for mom to mention who gets the car, but it's quite another to have it expressed in writing. When it's in writing, there's no question.
In addition to expressing your wishes regarding your assets, taking the time now to create a will saves your loved ones from animosity, conflict and guesswork and can simplify the process of setting your estate.