After the death of a celebrity or wealthy public figure, it is not uncommon for Missouri residents to hear about the details of their end of life estates. They may discover that the decedents elected to give their money to charity, or in the case of recording artist, Prince, that there was no estate plan in place whatsoever. An estate is what a person has at the end of their life and an estate plan is the directional documents that instruct others on how the decedent wanted their assets divided up.

One of the most foundational elements of an estate plan is a will. Through a will a person can bequeath assets, money and other property to individuals that they have named and identified. They may also leave instructions for how their children will be cared for if they have minor children at the times of their death and can leave other specific instructions for how particular property should be treated.

At the very least every reader of this post should have a will in their estate plan. Even if a reader does not believe that they own enough property or have amassed enough wealth they should still put down on paper their desires for how what they have should be distributed in the event they pass on.

Without a will or a more comprehensive estate plan a person’s assets will go into probate and will escheat according to the laws of intestacy recognized by the state. This does not guarantee that a person’s wishes will be honored or even recognized, and therefore an estate plan is the best way to have one’s intentions fulfilled when it comes to distributing their end-of-life wealth.