Ever been to a restaurant where you ordered something, then when it was brought out, found out that what you ordered wasn’t what you thought it was? That’s similar to how Missouri intestate law works.
Before explaining what the law says, let me define intestate. Intestate just means without a will. So, intestate law is what Missouri says happens to your stuff when you die if you don’t have a will or beneficiaries on assets.
Well that’s fine, but that just means it goes to my spouse who will use it to take care of my kids, right? Nope, and unfortunately, it’s not a simple answer.
Really, it all depends on the structure of your family. Married? Kids? Kids from a prior relationship? Here’s a quick chart I came up with to help:
The people who receive your assets under intestate law are called heirs (instead of devisee, beneficiary, or legatee if under a will or trust).
It’s important to note, that this only provides for biological or legal relationships. Have a step-child who you consider your own? Not adopted? No heir. Have a friend who you would like to include? Too bad. Have a significant other whom you didn’t marry? Out of luck.
So if this chart shows your assets going to a person or people going where you didn’t expect or don’t want… Well, it might be time to talk about a will.