When Do You File a Will After Someone Dies?

The months after a loved one passes away can be overwhelming, and important deadlines can easily fall through the cracks.  One of the most important steps to take is submitting your loved one’s will to the probate court.  In Missouri, wills must be admitted to the probate court before the one year anniversary of someone’s date of death.  Missouri law prohibits someone from filing a will, becoming executor or opening a probate estate more than one year from a Missouri resident’s date of death.  Other states allow a longer time to submit a will to probate.   But in Missouri, a last will and testament that is not admitted to probate within the one-year period is never recognized as the true last will and testament of the deceased.

This time limit is designed to provide certainty and closure for the families and heirs.  There are, however, other legal methods to transfer or re-title assets of someone who has died, after the one year anniversary has elapsed — these include a statutory Small Estate by Affidavit and a Petition for the Determination of Heirship.

If you have a loved one who has passed away and you need assistance with life insurance, probate, transferring their property, Mo HealthNet or other creditor claims, or winding up their affairs, we can help.  Call us at 573-441-9000 or email us at legal@barchetlaw.com.  We can help you get through this difficult time efficiently and with compassion.


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