How to Prepare Your Own Will & Beneficiary Deed in Missouri

By David Carnes

A will is a legal instrument that tells the probate court how to distribute your assets after you die. Because the probate process often involves considerable expense and delay, Missouri law authorizes real property owners to execute a beneficiary deed, which allows someone to transfer real property to his heirs after his death without having to submit the property to probate. Both wills and beneficiary deeds must be drafted in particular ways to be enforced. Nevertheless, if your estate is small, you can prepare both a will and a beneficiary deed without the assistance of an attorney.

The Will

Step 1

Take a written inventory of your property. Include real estate, personal property, bank accounts and intangibles such as patents or corporate stock.

Step 2

Entitle your will "Last Will and Testament of [your full legal name]. This will satisy the legal requirement that an enforceable will must clearly indicate its intent.

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Step 3

State your full name,and recite the required assertions -- that you are at least 18, that you are of sound mind, that you have not been subject to undue influence with regard to the contents of your will, and that your will revokes all previous wills and codicils.

Step 4

Appoint your executor. The executor is the person who will administer your estate after you die and represent it during probate proceedings. Consider appointing an alternate executor so that you don't have to revise your will if your first choice dies before you do.

Step 5

Add specific instructions as to the distribution of your property to your heirs, referring to your property inventory. Remember that if your spouse survives you, he will be entitled to a statutory portion under Missouri law, regardless of the contents of your will. If you intend to transfer real property under a benficiary deed, don't mention this property in your will.

Step 6

Sign and date the will in the presence of two adult witnesses. They must watch you sign the will, and then they must sign the will in your presence.

The Beneficiary Deed

Step 1

Complete the information requested in the beneficiary deed. You must identify yourself as the grantor and your heir as the beneficiary. You must include the date the deed is signed, and insert the legal description of the property that is included in your property's current deed.

Step 2

State that the change in ownership is not to take effect until the death of the grantor. If you omit this statement, the transfer will take place immediately.

Step 3

Sign and date the deed in the presence of a notary public, and have the notary public sign the deed and affix his official seal.

Step 4

File the deed with the Recorder of Deeds with jurisdiction over the city or county where the property is located.

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Inheriting Property in a Will in Missouri
 

References

Resources

Related articles

Getting a Heir's Name on a Deed

You may decide as part of your estate planning to deed an interest in your property to an heir prior to your death to avoid probate of the property. There are several methods to accomplish this; however, it is always best to consult with an estate-planning attorney to discuss all options as well as the tax consequences involved.

How to Change Your Heirs in Your Will

In your will, you name an executor, the person who will manage your estate according to the distribution instructions that you also provide in your will. If your will meets your state's requirements, the probate court will uphold it and the executor becomes legally bound by its terms. He will have to give your property to the persons you named as the recipients of the property in your will. If you change your mind after you make your will, you must change your will or make a new one. Otherwise, people you don't want to inherit from you will receive property from your estate.

Virginia Requirements for a Last Will & Testament

To ensure your property is distributed to your friends and family the way that you intend, consider drafting a last will and testament. A will, also referred to as a testament, is a written document that describes how you want your property distributed upon your death. The document is referred to as your last will and testament because it is the last document of its kind you draft before your death. In Virginia, there are several things you must complete before a court will recognize your will as valid.

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