Writing a will can be a daunting, even harrowing experience. Confronting the inevitability of your own death and deciding what should be done with all of your belongings can be a scary thing. For this and other reasons, some people never write a will. Other times, young people die unexpectedly, too quickly to have ever even considered how their property will be handled after their death. The question of how property is handled after someone dies without a will is an important one and one that has a complicated answer.
Intestate Laws by State
Dying without a will means dying intestate; in this instance, your property is distributed by your state’s intestacy laws. Depending on if you are married or single, as well as if you have children or parents who are still alive, the state you live in will distribute your estate automatically. These laws differ from state to state; if you own property in another state than the one you died in, it will be distributed according to that state’s laws.
If You Die Single
When people think of last wills, they usually picture someone passing on their possessions to their spouse and children. But if someone dies without a will, and doesn’t have a spouse or children, then who will receive their estate? In the event of someone dying with no children, then their estate is passed on to their living parents. If both are living, the entire estate is passed to them; if only one is living, then it is split evenly between that parent and any siblings. If someone dies single without any living parents or siblings, then their estate is split evenly between the relatives on both parents’ sides.
If You Die While Married
If you fall more into the traditional inheritance structure of being married with children, then intestacy laws are a bit simpler. If you die without a will, your estate is automatically passed on to your spouse in its entirety, even if you have children with that spouse. If, however, you have children from a previous marriage, then it will be sp[lit evenly between your current spouse and those children.
These laws vary from state to state, but they are compulsory. If you want to ensure that your current spouse receives everything, or if you want to make sure your parents are completely left out, then you should contact an estate lawyer, like from the Yee Law Group, to draw up a last will.