If you die without a will in Missouri, this is called dying intestate and your estate is divided according to Missouri law.
Here’s an example of why it’s important to have a will:
H and W are married in 2005. H has two grown children from a prior marriage. When H and W get married, they move into H’s house, which is a nice home and paid off. But it’s also in H’s name. H gets sick and dies. W still lives at the house. Under Missouri law, W inherits only half of the house and the other half is split equally between H’s children, who are unrelated to W. W now must deal with H’s children. Hopefully they get along. If not, W may have to deal with a situation where they want the house also. Since it’s 50/50, that could result in litigation.
If husband had a will, he could leave the house to his wife. Even easier, he could have created a beneficiary deed naming wife beneficiary of the house when he passed away and the house would not only have passed to wife completely but would have avoided probate.
Having a will is not just a sales pitch. It’s vitally important. The illustration above is just one example of why.