You determine what happens to your property and to the people who depend on you in the event of an emergency by creating an enforceable estate plan. Some people only draft wills, while others may create comprehensive estate plans that include powers of attorney, advance directives and even trusts.
It is generally a better decision to over-plan than to under-plan. After all, if you don’t have any documents in place and die unexpectedly, your loved ones could be left at a disadvantage. They may also wind up in major disputes over what should happen with your property.
If you die without a will in Missouri, then state law has the final say in what happens to your property.
Who inherits if you die without a will?
Missouri law is clear about what happens to someone’s property when they die intestate or without a will or similar documents. The spouse of the deceased individual has the strongest rights. If the deceased individual does not have any children, then their spouse can inherit everything. If they do have children, then what the spouse inherits will reflect if they are also the legal or biological parent of the deceased’s children.
When someone dies without a spouse or children, then their parents, siblings and even grandparents can inherit from their estate. The state prioritizes the closest legal and biological relationships, as opposed to the closest interpersonal relationships.
Those who are in unmarried romantic partnerships could leave their loved ones with nothing if they die and they don’t have a will. Even young adults who are estranged from their parents may benefit from creating an estate plan so that the people who are actually close to them will inherit their property if anything happens to them.
Creating a will doesn’t have to be difficult
Although you may not like the idea of thinking about what happens when you die, the alternative is to do nothing and leave yourself and the people you love quite vulnerable. Taking the time to create a will and other estate documents now will help ensure the protection of the people who depend on you and can give you peace of mind for years to come. You have the right to decide what happens to your property, but only if you make use of that right in time.
Understanding the basics of probate laws in Missouri can help you see the value of planning your estate sooner rather than later.