What Happens If You Die Without a Will?

What Happens If You Die Without a Will?

Posted on December 18th, 2015


Most people believe that the only people that need wills are those that have tremendous wealth or a large number of assets that need to be divided among heirs. However, this couldn’t be any further from the truth. The truth is that no matter how much or how little you have, having a will is the only way to ensure that your wishes will be carried out after your death. It’s important to be prepared if you die without a will. Here are a few reasons why you need to have a will.

Understanding Issues if you Die Without A Will

Intestacy

When you die intestate, or without a will, your state will decide how your assets will be distributed. They use a process known as probate and follow a standardized format for handling deaths where there are no wills available. This default distribution process may not distribute your assets in a manner than you wish.

Single

If you pass away intestate as a single person who does not have children, you have the least to worry about when it comes to how your assets are being distributed. That is, unless there is a specific person or persons you wish to leave something to.

For example, let’s say that you die without a will but wanted to leave money to help a friend put her child through college. Under normal intestate proceedings, your assets will most likely be distributed to your siblings and then your parents. Unless these individuals pass the money to your friend and/or her child, odds are they won’t be the beneficiary of your generosity, even if the recipients know about your wishes.

Let’s just say that you are single and do have children that you want to leave your assets to, but fail to create a will before you die. In most cases, your assets will be divided equally between your surviving children. However, if you intended to leave one child more because he or she was supporting a family while the other(s) aren’t, without a will it won’t happen.

Married

If you pass away intestate and you have a spouse, things get a little trickier. Your spouse isn’t automatically entitled to all of your assets. In fact, there are a large number of states that divide your assets between your spouse and your parents. If your parents are deceased, their portion will be distributed to your siblings. And this assumes that you don’t have children. If you do have children, they will generally receive your parents’ portion.

Your Final Wishes

At the end of the day, the only way to ensure that your affairs are handled the way you want them to be is to have a will.

 

Call Mark J. Nowicki, P.A. today for any questions you may have on Wills, Trusts & Estate Planning 561-746-9200.


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