What Happens If You Die Without a Will?

What Happens If You Die Without a Will?

No one enjoys thinking about death. But it’s an inevitable thing and something that can have a great impact on you and your loved ones. This is why planning for it in advance and preparing a will is incredibly important.

Not sure why writing a will is important, or what happens if you die without a will? Or do you simply need advice on how to approach the will writing process?

We’re here to help! In this article, we’re answering the big questions about writing a will. So, you can rest assured knowing you understand everything there is to know about this sometimes-complex process.

What Happens if You Died Without a Will?

Death is often unexpected, so there will be times when someone passes away without having prepared a will. What happens when this occurs? We’ll explain.

If you die without a prepared will, then the state will rule you have died “intestate”. Which is a term describing when a person dies without any binding declaration such as a will.

In this scenario, the intestacy laws of the state the deceased person lives income into effect. These laws determine how assets such as bank accounts and real estates are divided. They can also greatly vary based on a variety of factors like whether or not you’re single or with children, and if you have any qualified heirs.

If You Die Single

For this circumstance, the entire estate goes to the parents of the deceased—given they are still alive. If they aren’t alive, the assets would be distributed amongst any and all surviving siblings. When there are no parents, siblings, or descendants of siblings then the estate would be split between relatives on both your mother and father’s sides of the family.

If You Die While Married

The answer to this question depends on the ownership of assets. If the assets are communal or marital property, then they’ll go to your spouse. Separate property and assets may be split amongst any surviving spouse, siblings, and parents.

If you’re married and have children with your spouse, then your spouse will receive the entire estate. If you had children with a different spouse or partner, then the estate will be split between your current spouse and any children you have.

If You and Your Partner Aren’t Married

Do you have a long-term partner you aren’t married to? Then you’ll want to write a will to protect them.

Intestacy laws only recognize legal relatives. This means your partner won’t be able to inherit any of your property if you die without a will. In this situation, the decedent’s estate can only be distributed amongst family members such as parents, siblings, and children.

Special rules apply to domestic partnerships, however. Usually, the assets are divided in the same way they would if you had a spouse.

But it’s important to note that not all states recognize domestic partnerships, so your spouse may actually end up ineligible. Whether you’re in a long-term relationship or domestic partnership, we recommend contacting lawyers like Lees & Lees to learn more about your state’s legal policy regarding these relationships and what options you have.

Protect Your Loved Ones

Now that you know what happens if you die without a will, you should plan for the inevitable. By taking the time to do so, you can make sure your estate goes to the people who need it most.

Did you find this article informative? Need more advice? Check out the rest of our website for additional information.


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