A thorough estate plan, including a will, is essential to controlling how one’s assets pass to beneficiaries and helping their loved ones avoid disputes. When someone in Missouri dies without a will, their estate must pass through intestate succession.
During the process, the probate court will decide which beneficiaries will receive the assets and divide the property between the beneficiaries. To learn more about the laws of intestacy in St. Charles County, speak with an attorney. A knowledgeable lawyer could assist you with building a solid estate plan or navigating the probate process after losing a loved one.
Missouri Intestate Laws
Missouri intestate laws dictate how property passes to beneficiaries when people pass away without a will or other estate planning documents. Under the statute, the property passes to the estate beneficiaries as follows:
- Children divide the property when an individual passes away with children, but no spouse
- The spouse gets everything if there is a spouse but no children
- If a person with a spouse and children passes away, the state will divide the property between each of them
- The laws also provide that whole relatives inherit more property than half relatives, such as those that share only one parent
The intestate succession laws can vary depending on the person’s unique situation, so speaking with an experienced attorney in St. Charles County is crucial to create a comprehensive estate plan that protects assets and beneficiaries.
Not Survived by Parents, Siblings, or Descendants of Siblings
When the deceased is not survived by parents or siblings, the property and assets will go to grandparents, cousins, great-aunts and great-uncles, and more. When there are no surviving family members, the property and assets will belong to the state of Missouri.
Property and Assets that Bypass Intestate Succession
Not all property must pass through intestate succession. Some assets that will bypass the process include the following:
- Assets and property that transfer into a living trust
- Life insurance policy assets with a named beneficiary
- Real estate for which you have a transfer on death deed
- Individual retirement account or IRA, 401(k), or other retirement account funds with a named beneficiary
- Vehicles with transfer on death registration
- The property the deceased owed to someone else
An attorney in St. Charles County could answer specific questions about intestate succession laws and how they affect a particular case.
Missouri Minimum Survivorship Period
There is a specific survivorship period in the Missouri intestate laws. Under the Missouri Revised Statute § 474.015, the heirs must outlive the deceased by at least 120 hours to receive property as a beneficiary.
When a person does not outlive the deceased by the minimum period of time, their estate will not inherit the assets. In that case, the property will pass through intestate succession to the beneficiaries as per the statute.
Consult a St. Charles County Attorney on Intestacy Succession Laws
When people die without a valid will, their property will pass to beneficiaries as per the intestate succession laws in Missouri. While there is a process for dividing and distributing the property when someone dies without an estate plan, it could differ greatly from your final wishes.
Estate planning is the best way to protect your family and loved ones and ensure your family understands and carries out your final wishes. Speak with a lawyer about the laws of intestacy in St. Charles County and learn how you can protect your family’s future. Call today for a consultation.