Creating your Will is an important practice that provides peace of mind, protects your loved ones, and ultimately, gives you control in making sure things aren’t left up to chance. The process of creating Wills is largely similar from state to state, but there are some regulatory nuances to be aware of. This is because the laws that govern estate plans and Wills vary from state to state. If you plan to make an online Will in Missouri, make sure to satisfy the specific requirements set forth by Missouri statutes in order for your Will to be valid. This guide aims to provide a helpful overview of what you need to know about making a Will online in Missouri.
What You Need to Know About Making a Will Online in Missouri
The process of creating a valid Will in Missouri is determined by state statutes. The laws regarding the execution of a Will can be found in the Missouri Revised Statutes, Title 31 Trusts and Estate of Decedents and Persons under Disability, Chapter 474 Probate Code - WILLS (§§ 474.310 — 474.530).
An online Will can be valid in Missouri so long as the above legal requirements are satisfied. Trust & Will breaks down these legal requirements over the next several sections by answering some frequently asked questions on the topic.
How Much Does a Will Cost in Missouri?
On average, you can expect to spend roughly $200 to $600 on a Will in Missouri. This cost varies widely depending on two factors: attorney fees and complexity of the estate.
For example, an individual with a particularly robust or complex estate plan with many special provisions may hire one of the most experienced estate planning attorneys in the state. This person’s estate planning costs will likely be in the higher range. The cost may even rise to several thousand dollars if they plan to establish a Trust.
However, many people have a relatively simple estate with straightforward objectives. Trust & Will’s online estate planning platform provides Missouri residents with an affordable alternative. You can create your Missouri online Will through our platform at a fraction of the cost.
Are Online Wills Legal in Missouri?
Yes, online Wills are legal in Missouri. Here are the legal requirements for making an online Will:
You must be at least 18 years of age
You must be of “sound mind and memory”
The Will must be in writing
You must sign the Will before two competent witnesses
Your two witnesses must also sign the Will in front of you
To create a legally valid Will in Missouri, you can use a comprehensive estate planning platform such as Trust & Will, which will guide you through easy prompts and steps. Note that you have to print out your online Will, as the Show Me State does not recognize digital-only Wills at this time. We will discuss this more in a following section that goes over the requirements for online Wills in Missouri.
Is It Legal to Write Your Own Will in Missouri?
Under Missouri estate planning law, technically speaking, any competent adult can write their own Will. However, this should be done with great care. It is difficult to master the proper legal language required; any mistakes could result in final wishes that are unenforceable by law or could otherwise produce undesirable results.
If you don’t wish to work with an attorney, an alternative solution to consider is creating an online Will using a trustworthy platform. For example, Trust & Will’s estate planning platform offers state-specific estate plans so you can have peace of mind knowing that your Will is compliant in Missouri and will obtain the desired goals of your legacy.
What are the Requirements for an Online Will to Be Valid in Missouri?
The following outlines the legal requirements for a valid online Will in Missouri:
The Will must be in writing.
The Testator (the person writing the Will) must be at least 18 years old and be of sound mind and memory.
The Testator must sign the Will in front of two witnesses.
These witnesses must be competent, meaning they are capable of making decisions and have the capacity to reason.
After they see the Testator sign the Will, the witnesses must also sign the Will.
The Will must be printed on paper. While several states allow digital Wills, Missouri does not currently recognize digital-only Wills. Online Wills must be printed out.
Make sure to choose disinterested parties to witness your Will. While Missouri does not invalidate a Will using interested witnesses, they automatically forfeit any inheritance amount exceeding what they would have received if the Testator died intestate. Be sure to choose disinterested parties as your witnesses to ensure that your beneficiaries don’t lose any part of their inheritance.
Do I Need a Lawyer to Make a Will in Missouri?
No, you do not need a lawyer to make a Will in Missouri. Generally speaking, Show Me State laws do not require you to hire a lawyer to create or execute a valid Will. However, you may want to consult an estate planning professional for advice if you have a large estate or special conditions that you wish to meet.
Otherwise, making your Will online is a reliable and convenient option. This is especially so when your wishes are straightforward and your estate is relatively simple. An online estate planning platform will guide you through the process of creating and executing a Will that is compliant in your state.
How Do I Sign an Online Will in Missouri?
Here are the steps to follow for signing and finalizing your Will in Missouri:
Print out your Will
Sign your Will in front of two witnesses
Have your two witnesses sign the Will in front of you
Here are some special considerations to note:
Divorce is a major event that will likely require you to rewrite your Will. When you get a divorce, it automatically revokes anything in your Will that would have provided benefit to your now-former spouse.
You may include no-contest clauses in your Missouri Will. This is a method of strongly discouraging someone who stands to lose something if they try to challenge your Will in court.
You cannot distribute the following types of assets and property in a Will:
Life insurance policy
Jointly-owned property with right of survivorship
Jointly-owned property as tenants in entirety
While you may sign and execute your Will at a single point in time, the above considerations highlight special circumstances one may encounter at any time. Luckily, maintaining an online Will through a platform like Trust & Will can make revising and updating your existing Will a more seamless experience.
Does Missouri Require a Notarized Will?
No, Missouri does not require a Will to be notarized in order for it to be legally valid. However, it is an optional action step that you can take if you wish for your Will to be self-proving.
To do so, you and your witnesses must go to a notary public. After confirming your identities, you will make sworn statements and sign an affidavit. The affidavit is notarized and attached to the Will. This essentially proves that the notary knows who you are and confirms that each person was aware that they were signing the Will.
If your Will is presented to the probate court, then they must validate it. If the Will is already self-proved, then the court won’t have to call upon the witnesses to testify regarding the Will’s validity. This can help minimize potential issues and allow the probate process to proceed more quickly.
Who Can Witness a Will in Missouri?
Any competent adult can witness a Will in Missouri. However, a Testator should be careful not to select a beneficiary (an interested party) as a witness. While an interested witness won’t automatically invalidate a Will, they could inadvertently forfeit their inheritance. This is because there could be a conflict of interest. It is generally advised to select a disinterested party to witness your Will to avoid any challenges.
How to Create Missouri Last Will and Testament Online
Missouri does not currently recognize digital-only Wills, although this could change in the future. In the meantime, you can still create your Last Will and Testament online, so long as you print it out for signing. For many, it can provide a convenient and affordable alternative to estate planning the traditional way.
With this in mind, here is an overview of the steps of creating an online Will in Missouri:
Select a trusted online estate planning platform, service, or template.
Draft your Will
Review and finalize your Will
Print out your Will
Sign the Will
Obtain signatures from two competent witnesses
Optional: get your Will notarized if you want it to be self-proving
Upload the Will to a secure storage space online, such as a digital vault
Store the hard copy in a secure physical space, such as a safe
Review and revise your Will regularly
What Can I Include in an Online Will in Missouri?
The contents of a Last Will and Testament vary widely based on an individual’s personal circumstances, as well as the objectives they wish to achieve. Must estate planning platforms such as Trust & Will will guide you through a series of questions and prompts to help you create your Will.
Here are some ideas on what can be included in your online Will:
An inventory of your property and assets
A list of your Beneficiaries
Gifts made to specific individuals or organizations
Your nominated Executor who should handle your estate
A Guardian for any minor or dependent children (or pets)
A named individual to manage property for dependent children
Last wishes regarding your remains, funeral, burial, cremation, etc.
Any final instructions or notes for loved ones
Create Your Online Will in Missouri Today
Can you create an online Will in Missouri? The answer is “yes.” Creating your Will online, no matter your location, is a convenient and affordable alternative to working with an estate planning attorney. The key to successfully creating an online Will in Missouri is making sure that you satisfy state-specific requirements.
This guide provided an overview of the online Will requirements in the Show Me state that you should be aware of.
At Trust & Will, we’re here to help keep things simple. You can create a fully customizable, state-specific estate plan from the comfort of your own home in just 20 minutes. Take our free quiz to see where you should get started, or compare our different estate planning and settlement options today!
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Trust & Will is an online service providing legal forms and information. We are not a law firm and we do not provide legal advice.