In Missouri, there is generally one (1) year from the date of an individual’s death to probate his or her last will and testament. “A will, to be effective as a will, must be presented for and admitted to probate.” § 473.050.1, RSMo. A will that is not timely presented for probate is “forever barred from admission to probate.” § 473.050.5, RSMo.
It is important to meet this deadline if one wants to honor the provisions of a will. It may also be important for litigation purposes or to preserve a claim. See Estate of Mickels, 542 S.W.3d 311, 313-15 (Mo. 2018) (because “applications for the appointment of a personal representative must be filed within one year,” no appointment allowed over a year after death to pursue a medical malpractice action).
If a will is not timely filed, and assets need to be distributed to heirs, then typically someone will need to resort to a petition for determination of heirship or small estate affidavit.