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What types of wills does Missouri consider valid?

Like most in Saint Charles, you likely envision the estate planning process to be quite formal. After all, matters dealing with the dispersal of your assets ought not to be taken lightly, and should be given the attention and care they deserve. Yet this does not necessarily mean that the creation of a will has to be a complex process. There are actually several different types of wills, each varying in the format that they are delivered. The question then becomes which does Missouri state law consider to be valid? 

In general, a will must be witnessed by appropriate parties in order to be considered valid. It typically does not matter whether it is handwritten or typed (most, however, chose to craft it in the form of a professional document for added legitimacy); as long as at least two competent witnesses attest to its legitimacy, state courts will enforce it. Many call handwritten wills "holographic wills," yet this is actually a misapplication of the term. A holographic will is one that is not witnessed, and Missouri state law does not consider such wills to be valid. 

Another type of will exists known as a "nuncupative will." These are oral or spoken wills, and according to Section 474.340 of Missouri's Revised Statutes, the state only views them as valid under the following circumstances: 

  • You make your declaration under the imminent peril of death 
  • Said peril does indeed cause your death
  • Your declaration is witnessed by at least two people
  • One of those witnesses writes down your wishes within 30 days of your declaration
  • That written will is submitted for probate within six months of your death

A nuncupative will does not revoke a written will you already have created. It also can only be used to dispose of to $500 of your personal property. 

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