We are often asked about what happens when one dies without a will in Missouri. The better question should be something like “What happens when one dies without a will, a trust, or any other mechanism to transfer my assets and property?”
The answer is a little complicated. Again, we are assuming that property, assets, etc. was owned by the decedent alone, and with no beneficiary designations, joint ownership, etc. The property, through a probate administration, is transfered according to the Missouri Laws of Descent and Distribution. However, it’s not quite that simple. Claims, or debts of the decedent are normally paid first, along with funeral expenses, and other expenses of administration. Surviving spouses and minor children may also have certain rights.
After all of these are accounted for we then we apply the law. The law doesn’t always make sense, and often doesn’t reflect the wishes of the decedent. In other words, it should be avoided!!
The bigger question is: Why would anyone ever allow themselves to be in this position? Of course, there is no good answer.
Does this describe you, or someone you love? Then it needs to be dealt with — Today.