What happens if I don’t have a will in Missouri?
When you execute a will, you are deciding who gets your stuff when you pass away. You get to name a person called an executor (in Missouri we call them a “personal representative”) who is going to make sure the stuff you want to go to certain people actually gets there.
Now, if you don’t have a will, the state of Missouri has what are know as intestacy statutes (to die “intestate” means to die without a will) and those statutes determine who gets your stuff, since you never made a will and wrote that down yourself. Problem is, in not having a will you are allowing the state to dictate who gets your things and that may not be the same people that you want to have those things.
That is exactly why you want to have a will. They sound fancy but in reality they really aren’t.
Another key aspect of a will for parents with minor children is that they can name guardians for their children in case they passed away.
What is the difference between a living will and a will in Missouri?
People often get confused with the differences between a living will and a will in Missouri. As explained above, wills primarily deal with who gets your stuff when you pass away. Living wills deal with end of life situations and what treatments you want withheld if a doctor determines that those treatments cannot heal you. The purpose of a living will is to give instruction to your family as to what treatments you do or do not want done if you are near death, persistently unconscious or have a terminal illness. And they have nothing to do with who gets your stuff! However, they are two of the documents you need to have a complete estate plan.