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After You’re Gone: What Happens If You Die Without a Will?

No one likes to think about the end. Many people wonder what happens if you die without a will. Death is a heavy subject, but if you don’t have estate planning, then everything you own by the state’s wishes and no your own.

People tend to put off creating a will because it addresses the finality of life. It’s important to take the time because dying “intestate,” can lead to problems not only with the dissolution of your assets but also hurt feelings of family members.

We’ll go through what happens when you don’t have a will and the issues your family members face.

Intestate Succession Laws: What Happens if You Die Without A Will?

The purpose of a will is to determine who your assets go to and proclaim the guardian of your underage children. You also choose the executor of your state such as Peck Ritchey, LLC who is in charge of making sure your final requests are heeded.

Without it, the state disperses your property via the intestate succession laws. Any property or accounts co-owned are not subject to these laws and instead, go to the co-owner. Also, any life insurance policies are given to the beneficiary and not determined by the state.

Dying Without a Will When You’re Married

When you’re married with a wife and children, the assets are divided with all or some other percentage of it going to your wife. The rest is distributed among your children, siblings, and parents.

It doesn’t matter if you promised your oldest son to give him your coin collection. If it goes to your mother, she has control of it and doesn’t have to give it to you.

This can lead to heartbreak and distress for family members who argue over the distributed property. The state does not follow your wishes. It follows the letter of the law.

What Happens if You’re Single or Divorced?

The rules are straight forward when you’re married, but it gets complicated if you’re single or divorced. If you have a partner but aren’t married, the state doesn’t recognize them for the distribution of assets.

If you’ve lived with the person for 20 years and had a life with them, unless you are legally married, that person won’t get anything. There are some states that recognize domestic partnerships, but you’ll need to check your state’s laws.

If you are single, then relatives are found and assets distributed. If you have no children, parents or siblings, then it can go to aunts, cousins, etc. If there are no relatives, then the state takes your assets.

The state chooses guardians for underage children based on their best interest.

Problems with Dying Without a Will

The state doesn’t recognize your wishes even if they’ve been verbally stated with witnesses. They also don’t recognize family feuds, so if you hate your brothers, he can still end up getting a portion of your estate.

If you lived with someone the rest of your family doesn’t approve of, then they can make sure that person gets nothing of your estate. All property goes to relatives and doesn’t recognize a girlfriend or boyfriend.

Get Your Will Completed

What happens if you die without a will? It could lead to family turmoil and broken hearts. Take the time to visit a lawyer and complete your will.

If you want items to go specifically to a person in or outside of your family, a will is the only way to guarantee that happens.

If you’re interested in learning more about creating a will, then explore our site.

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