Some people feel they don’t need a will because they don’t own a whole lot. Others just don’t get around to making one before they die. In any case, if you die without creating a will, things may not run as smoothly as you’d like. The following outlines what would happen to your estate if you died before creating a will.
When You Die as a Single Individual
If you’re single at the time of your death, and you also don’t have any children, your entire estate typically goes to both of your parents. If your parents have preceded you in death, your siblings and half-siblings would receive equal shares of your estate. If none of your nuclear family are still alive, nieces and nephews would receive the estate, divided equally. When there are no nieces or nephews to be found, the relatives from your mom’s family would get half of your estate, and the relatives from your dad’s family would get the other half.
If you’re single and have children, those children typically get the entire estate, divided equally. If you have a child who preceded you in death, and there’s a grandchild from that child, your grandchild would get the equal portion.
When You Die and Are Married
Anything you own jointly with your spouse will be completely your spouse’s property. If you have property you own solely, it could be split between your spouse, parents and siblings. This is only the case if you have no children. If there are children in the picture, and your current spouse is their other parent, the spouse would inherit everything. If your children’s other parent is not your current spouse, your spouse would receive half or less of your estate. The children’s other parents would receive the other portion, but it would be to care for the children.
When You Die In an Unmarried Relationship
If you have a boyfriend or girlfriend you’re living with at the time of your death, and you don’t have a will, the situation would be handled the same as if you were single. Intestacy laws don’t recognize anyone who is not a legal relative. If you’re worried about your partner being taken care of, you should either get married, make a will or set up a trust.
Making a Will to Protect Loved Ones
When you start thinking about what’s going to happen to your property after your death, it’s time to make a will. Contact an estate attorney, like the attorneys at Klenk Law to discuss your obligations.