Creating a will should be considered a priority, however most people understandably do not want to think about, or plan for, their own death. If you want to determine what will happen to your assets when you pass, it’s important to take the time to make a will. If you pass without a will, consequences can range from maybe something minor to something more stressful/expensive/time consuming for your loved ones. So, what happens if you die without a will? Every state has their own established intestate process that determines whether a person’s assets will be given to their spouse, children, parents, or siblings.
Dying without a will means your assets may not end up where you want them to. This also means you will have died “intestate,” meaning the state where you reside will determine how your property is distributed upon your death. This includes bank accounts, securities, real estate, and any other assets you own at the time of your death. If you have any joint accounts with a beneficiary, those will automatically transfer. Property in any other states will be handled under the intestacy laws of that state. The laws of intestate succession vary depending on whether you are single or married, with or without children. If relatives can be found, property and assets are most likely evenly distributed.
- If you are married, 100% of any community property goes to your spouse. 50% of any separate property would go to your spouse and the other 50% to your children.
- If you are single and have children, the children will receive the assets in equal shares.
- If you are single with no children, your parents will receive your property if they are both living, otherwise it will be distributed among siblings.
- If there are no siblings and no surviving parents, then relatives on your mother’s side would receive one-half and your father’s side would receive the other half.
Estate planning can get complicated but speaking to an experienced attorney can help you fully understand the ins and outs of what will happen if you die without a will. Here at DAL Law Firm, we can help you draft a will and give you some peace of mind. Call us today at (206) 408-8158 or email us at [email protected].