PETITIONS TO DETERMINE HEIRSHIP


Probate is required when a person dies. It is the process through which property is transferred from a deceased person to those entitled to an inheritance. In Missouri, probate must be opened in the county of the decedent’s domicile within one (1) year after the decedent’s death.   However, failure to open probate does not necessarily mean that the property remains in the deceased person’s name permanently.

If a person has died leaving property or any interest in property in Missouri and no administration has been commenced on the estate of the decedent, any person claiming an interest in such property as heir or through an heir may file a petition in the probate division of the circuit court for the administration of the estate of the decedent to determine the heirs of the decedent at the date of the decedent’s death and their respective interests or interests as heirs in the estate.   The petition needs to contain:

  1. The name, age, domicile, last residence address and the fact and date of death of the decedent.
  2. The names, relationship to the decedent and residence addresses of the heirs of the decedent at the time of the decedent’s death.
  3. The names and residence addresses of any persons claiming through an heir of the decedent when such heir has died after the decedent.
  4. A particular description of the property of the decedent in this state with respect to which the determination is sought and the value of such property.

The court will set the matter for hearing. At the hearing the court determines who the heirs are and what their ownership interest is in the estate. Typically, a certified copy of the court’s heirship determination is required to show third-parties that title to property is to be transferred.