What Could Occur in the Event of Dying Intestate

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Estate Law Lawyer

No one wants to think about their death. Unfortunately, no one knows that tomorrow is guaranteed. If you were to die tomorrow, without a will, what would happen to your assets? How would your family pay their bills? There’s a lot to understand about dying intestate, or without a will. Here are some things to consider.

State Laws Determine Who Your Beneficiaries Are

In most cases, state law outlines who receives your property. If you are married, your spouse inherits. If you were single and had children, it would be the children who are your heirs. If you don’t have kids, your parents would like be next in line. If you don’t have parents who are living, the siblings would be next to inherit. In most cases, domestic partners would not have any say in how property is distributed, but again, it depends on the state. Most states don’t recognize domestic partnerships, which means your unmarried partner will lose out.

Probate Court Nominates the Executor

If you die without a will, your assets and debts will be handled in probate court. The judge appoints an executor over your estate to make sure all the details are handled. If you had a will, you could have named the executor yourself. Without a will, the executor uses laws of intestate succession to determine who gets your estate.

Who Takes Care of Your Children?

Generally speaking, when you die and have minor children, their care is determined by the other parent. If you’re married, this isn’t a big deal. If you’ve been divorced, you may not want your ex-spouse to manage your children’s funds. If you die intestate, the court will appoint someone to manage your estate for the children. If you had made time to create a will, you could have outlined this yourself.

Estate Planning Benefits Your Love Ones

Dying intestate places a huge burden on your family. Probate court does take time. Even if you have a will, your estate still needs to go through probate, but the difference is that someone you know and care about is dealing with your estate. An executor that you name is probably going to care more about handling the details for your family. A court-appointed executor may be very good but won’t have the same concern. You may even find ways to avoid probate with your lawyer by placing assets in a trust.


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