Having a will is one of the first steps in proper estate planning and gives you the power to determine how your property will be disposed of when you are gone.

A will is a legal paper that states who receives your property when you die. Each state has its own laws about wills.  Having a will does not avoid the necessity of probate, but it is possible to title your property so that probate is not necessary.

Any person who is at least 18 years old and of sound mind can make a will.  To be recognized in Missouri, a will must be signed and the signature witnessed by two people.  Certain formalities must be followed when changing a will.  For examples, an earlier will may be canceled by properly executing a newer will or you can cancel your own will by destroying the original and any copies you may have made.

What if you die without a will?

Property that you owned alone goes to your close relatives and sometimes to more distant relatives. If no relatives are found, a highly unusual circumstance, your property goes to the state. Who receives your property is set by law, not by your choice. 

To whom can you give your property?

Generally, you can give your property to any person or groups you choose, in any manner you choose.  Some laws limit what you can do and we would be happy to discuss those options with you.  Finally, it is important to keep in mind that your spouse can choose a certain amount from your estate if he or she does not like your will.

Why is it better to have a will?

Well, it can save you money in the long run.  You can save some costs by waiving bond and providing for independent administration.  Plus, when you have a will, only you decide who receives your property, not the court.  You can also name a guardian for your minor children, provide for children without the court stepping in, set up a trust for your family, and save on inheritance taxes.  Finally, you will have the peace of mind with knowing that you have planned for your family and friends.

How long are wills valid?

Wills are valid and in effect until changed or canceled by you.  Please keep in mind that a will benefitting a spouse will not be enforceable if you get a divorce.

When should you think about changing your will?

Major life events should usually trigger a call to your attorney to discuss how it might affect your estate planning.  These events usually include marriage, divorce, or death of a member of your immediate family.  But these events also include when family, property, money, or other assets, change in value or nature or if you move to another state.

Who Can Write a Will?

Anyone can by law, but there are many pitfalls and, if proper technical language is not used, certain bequests or the entire will may become unenforceable.

Only a lawyer can write a will that you can be sure will be legal.

Please call us at (573) 651-1900 or email us today to set up an appointment to discuss your estate planning needs.

The Clubb Law Firm, LLC., 718 Caruthers, Cape Girardeau, MO 63701
Phone: (573) 651-1900 Fax: (573) 651-1902   Disclaimer
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