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Determination of Heirship Attorneys in St. Louis, Missouri

According to a 2021 Wills and Estate Planning Study by, about 67.1% of American adults do not have a will or estate plan. When a person dies intestate – without a will – determining the heirs and beneficiaries to the decedent's estate can be quite challenging. If greater than a year from the date of death has passed, and the estate does not qualify as a small estate, a petitioner will have to file a determination of heirship petition in court to identify the heirs and property that will go through probate.

If you believe you have a right to be classified as an heir to a decedent's estate, consulting with experienced Missouri estate planning attorneys is crucial for detailed guidance. At TdD Attorneys at Law, we are committed to offering knowledgeable legal counsel and reliable advocacy to clients in estate planning and probate matters, including determination of heirship. We can discuss your unique situation and enlighten you about your legal options. Also, we can file an application to determine heirship in Missouri and help you navigate important decisions.

My firm – TdD Attorneys at Law – proudly serves clients in St. Louis, Missouri, and surrounding areas.



What is the Determination of Heirship?

Determination of heirship is a petition filed in probate court to name the expected heirs of a deceased person, identify the property that will go through probate, and state what (property or amounts) each heir will get. In Missouri, an application to determine heirship may be filed at any time following the deceased person's death if no estate administration or probate has been commenced.

What Happens at a Determination
of Heirship Proceeding?

Any of the decedent's heirs who have interests in the estate can file a petition to determine heirship with the probate court. The petitioner will:

  • Determine who the heirs to the deceased person are under Missouri law

  • Inform the court of what assets and property need to go through probate.

When a hearing happens, the judge will issue a final decree stating who the heirs are, respective shares, assets, and interests of each heir in the decedent's estate. The determination of heirship proceedings can help settle the question of who the rightful heirs are and ensure that assets are transferred to inheritors in accordance with the state's intestate succession laws.

Missouri Intestate Succession Rules

Under Missouri's intestate succession law, a person must outlive you by 120 hours to inherit your assets. However, who gets what will depend on the type of survivors and the surrounding circumstances. Here is a brief overview:

  • If you die with children but no spouse, your children will inherit everything you own.

  • If you die with a spouse but no descendant, your spouse will inherit everything you own.

  • If you die with a spouse and you have children with the spouse, your spouse will inherit the first $20,000 of your intestate property, plus half of the balance. Your children will inherit the remaining assets.

  • If you die with a spouse and children from another relationship, your spouse will inherit half of your intestate property. Your children will inherit the remaining assets.

  • If you die with parents and siblings and no spouse or descendants, your parents and siblings will inherit your intestate property in equal shares.

  • If you die having only parents, your parents will inherit everything you own.

  • If you die having only siblings, your siblings will inherit everything you own.

For many families, identifying children, descendants, and heirs is often a confusing issue. These may include biological children, adopted children, foster children, stepchildren, posthumous children, children born outside of marriage, and grandchildren. We have the experience to answer questions about your relationship with your child or parent and help enlighten you about who inherits what assets in Missouri.

How Legal Counsel Can Help

Filing a petition to determine heirship in Missouri often involves a lot of complexities. Identifying heirs and probate assets, initiating the petition in probate court, serving notices to heirs, signing the application, and attending court hearings can make the entire process daunting. Therefore, it is crucial to hire knowledgeable probate attorneys for proper guidance and to help you navigate tough decisions.

With over 30 years of combined experience, TdD Attorneys at Law possess the skill, expertise, and diligence to help individuals and families navigate the complexities involved in determining heirship.

We can guide you through every phase of the determination of heirship proceeding and help you make informed decisions. We fight diligently to protect your best interests and help you get what belongs to you.


If you need assistance filing an application to determine heirship in Missouri, contact my firm – TdD Attorneys at Law – today to schedule a simple case evaluation. I can have the detailed legal counsel and brilliant advocacy you need in your case. My firm is proud to serve clients throughout the St. Louis area (St. Louis County, City, St. Charles, and Jefferson Counties) and Chesterfield, MO.