A will is an important tool that individuals can use to plan for the ends of their lives. It is a document that outlines important instructions for how a decedent’s assets, debts, and responsibilities should be managed when they are no longer alive. Through a will, a person can name a guardian for their kids, give property and money to their loved ones, and contribute to the charities of their choosing.
Not every person can draft and execute a valid will, however. It is important that Missouri residents understand who may prepare wills for their estate plans. All questions about wills should be directed to estate planning attorneys as this informational post does not offer any specific guidance to readers or provide legal advice.
Requirements for valid wills in Missouri
One of the rules that limits who may prepare and execute a valid will in the state is the age requirement. Only adults, those who are at least 18 years old, may execute valid wills. There is an exception to this rule, though, as children who have legally emancipated from their parents may also execute wills for the management of their estates.
Another rule that limits who may execute a will concerns the will creator’s testamentary capacity. Testamentary capacity refers to a person’s mental condition, and if a person is not of sound mind then their will may not be considered valid. Soundness of mind is required to prevent individuals lacking testamentary capacity from being taken advantage of during the process of drafting their wills.
Finally, wills in Missouri generally must be written down. They cannot be spoken, though if a person’s death is imminent, then an oral will may be sufficient. Written wills must be witnessed and attested to by at least 2 witnesses to confirm their validity.
Preparing a will
Now is a good time for any adult to begin the estate planning process and drafting a will for the protection of their future. Estate planning attorneys are excellent resources for those who are prepared to take the important step toward protecting their interests and assets at the time of their death. The requirements of wills can be complicated to follow, but attorneys who work with estate planning clients can offer advice and advocacy for those with estate planning questions.