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How to know if a Missouri last will and testament is valid

On Behalf of | Jan 2, 2024 | Estate Planning

Losing a loved one is never easy. If legal complications arise following a family member’s passing, it may intensify grief and be highly stressful. For example, if someone challenges the validity of a last will and testament in Missouri, it can take weeks or months to resolve the issue.

Every state has its estate laws. One state might recognize a certain type of will, for instance, that is not permitted in another state. Missouri recognizes a nuncupative (verbal) will only in specific circumstances, such as if the testator (person executing the will) is in imminent danger of death. There are some states, however, that do not recognize this type of will at all.

In Missouri, these elements prove the validity of a last will and testament

Every testator’s needs and goals are unique. Therefore, no two wills are the same. To determine if a will is valid in Missouri, the factors shown in the following list are considered:

  • The testator must have been at least 18 when signing the will.
  • The testator showed soundness of mind when executing the will.
  • Two witnesses, as well as the testator, must sign the will.
  • The will must be written (unless exceptional circumstances such as those mentioned in a previous section of this post apply).
  • The testator must list at least one beneficiary.
  • The will must be filed in the appropriate court no more than one year after the testator’s passing.

These are the basic elements that make a Missouri will valid. An individual or group may challenge validity if any of these elements were not in effect when a will was signed.

Seek guidance before executing a will

It is always best to seek guidance and support from someone who is knowledgeable regarding Missouri estate and probate laws before executing a last will and testament. This helps avoid oversights and errors. A testator can revisit the source for periodic reviews, changes and updates.