What Will Happen If I Die Without a Will in Place?
Strictly speaking in legal terms, when a person dies without leaving behind a will, they say he passed away “Intestate”. Now, when such a mishap takes place, all proceedings are to be done following the intestacy laws of a particular state, to determine the distribution of property.
What exactly does property signify?
It takes into account real estate, securities, bank accounts, and any other assets that a person owned before dying. Typically, you will need to hire a Wills and Trust Attorney to get things done without any hassle.
Also, it is to be noted that the succession laws of intestate vary to a great extent depending on your marital status and the next of kin in question. In the majority of cases, the property gets distributed in equal splits among the rightful heirs that include the following family members:
Niece and Nephews
Any other distant relative
In case, there is no one present to make a claim, all possessions are to be handed over to the state.
Dying single and without a will
If you die intestate, single without any children, generally it’s your parents who stand eligible to possess your entire estate. If that is not an option, your siblings get to enjoy the possession and another surviving parent.
Without any siblings or parents whatsoever, it’s the relatives from your mother’s side that get to own the possession, limited to just one half of the entire estate, while the other half goes to the father’s side relatives.
If you die intestate, leaving behind more than one child, the entire estate is divided into two equal shares. If your child has passed away before your death, the share goes over to your grandchildren.
Dying intestate and married
Depending largely on how every single asset is owned by you, the estate gets entirely passed on to your spouse, subjected to the fact that it’s a marital or community property.
If it’s a separate possession, it is normally split between your surviving spouse, parents, and siblings.
Dying intestate when in domestic relationships
One needs to abide by a set of special rules when a domestic partnership is in question for intestate affairs. It is to be understood that not every state gives the same level of recognition to domestic relationships.
For example, the state of Florida differs greatly from how it’s treated in Massachusetts. In case you reside in Florida, you will need to check in the facts with a law person qualified in wills and trusts.
Typically, as a ground-rule, when one dies intestate and is survived by a domestic partner, she inherits your property on similar terms as that of a surviving spouse, depending on the ownership pattern of your asserts.
Dying intestate for unmarried couples
Arguably, one of the most complex and grossly disappointing situations, that one can come across. Dying intestate when unmarried is a complete disaster, owing to the prevalent intestacy laws that currently recognize blood relatives only. As such, the unmarried living partner does not get a chance to inherit any part of the property, if the person doesn’t have a proper will in place. Unless there is a strong mention the will saying otherwise, all assets, possession, and estate are split between relatives depending on the kind of relationship they hold with the deceased.
Are you worried about the state of affairs if you die intestate? Don’t worry, talk to a wills and trust attorney right away.
Remember, planning of estate is never an easy task. Hence, it is required that you be open and wise, to let your attorney know about your intentions. Always ensure that you work with an attorney who is not a multi-specialist, but handles will and trusts only. That will put you in a much better place to ensure that nothing goes wrong after you pass away, and can definitely bring you peace of mind.
There is no denying that the power of a legal document resides in its drafting. An experienced will and trust attorney will always be one step ahead with any newbie as such matters require considerable years of experience and expertise in equal measure. So, what are you waiting for?
Go talk to a local will and trust attorney in your area today. You can also trust my expertise and book a free initial consultation to make a smart decision. I’m Jeffry S. Perlow, an experienced attorney helping clients in estate planning, family laws, and elder laws. I use a strategic approach to present a case and help my client get a favorable outcome.