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When Must a Will be Probated in Missouri?

November 16, 2021

After a loved one has passed away, the last thing you and other grieving family members are likely thinking about is probating your loved one’s Will. After all, there are so many other things you need to do, all while coping with the loss of someone near and dear to you. 

When it comes to your loved one’s property, however, it’s important to understand the time frame you have to get the probate process started. Your loved one’s Will sets out how they want their assets to be distributed amongst their chosen heirs. If you don’t start the probate process in time, the Will becomes ineffective. Depending on how they wanted their property distributed, if this happens, your loved one’s wishes might not be met.

When to Apply for Probate in Missouri

Probate in Missouri is available whether or not the deceased left behind a Will. But if there is one, you must apply for probate within a year of your loved one’s date of death. If you file for probate after the year has passed, the property covered by the deceased’s Will will be distributed according to Missouri’s intestate laws. 

Intestate laws are a state’s laws that outline how a deceased’s assets must be distributed if they do not have a Will. If you don’t apply for probate within a year of the deceased’s death, the Will isn’t effective anymore. This means the court will treat your loved one’s estate as if there wasn’t a Will. 

Even if your loved one left their assets to family members who would be entitled to receive the assets under Missouri’s intestate laws, the percentage of inheritance that each heir would have received under the Will might not reflect the percentages required under the state’s laws. By not applying for probate in time, you run the risk that your loved one’s wishes for their estate won’t be met. 

The Probate Process in Missouri Explained

People often put off the probate process because it sounds like a difficult process. It actually isn’t, although it’s usually a good idea to retain the services of a probate lawyer, like our experienced Springfield probate lawyers at LifeGen Law Group, to obtain probate for you.

Probate simply means the process of distributing a deceased’s estate through the court. It’s a legal process that protects the assets of an estate, ensuring that those assets are distributed to the deceased’s rightful heirs.  In Missouri, this process takes place in probate court. To begin the probate process, you apply to the probate court in the county where the deceased lived. 

During the probate process, the court will appoint a personal representative for the deceased’s estate. When there’s a Will, it will designate the person the deceased has chosen to be their personal representative. 

The personal representative will have the responsibility of paying off the estate’s debts and then distributing the remaining assets of the estate to the deceased’s heirs. In appointing a personal representative, the probate court also grants this personal representative the authority to deal with the assets in the estate. 

Contact Springfield Probate Lawyers to Get the Probate Process Started

The experienced Springfield probate lawyers at LifeGen Law Group can answer all your probate questions and help guide you through the Missouri probate process in Missouri. Contact our offices today to get started.