Hablamos Español free phone consultations
Joseph A. Ledwidge, P.C.
347-395-4799
View Our Practice Areas

Your will matters: What happens if you die without a will?

Your will is the one document that can explain everything you want to see happen with your estate after you pass away. Anyone can die at any time, and that's why so many people insist that it's important to have a will early in life. When you don't have a will, it's harder to know what will happen to your assets and who will end up benefiting from them.

In cases where a father or mother married to one another passes away, there's little contest as to who should receive the assets of the family home. In these cases, the surviving spouse often receives the entire estate, except for in the case that a child or children are from previous marriages or relationships. In those cases, the surviving spouse gets up to half the estate, and the rest is doled out to the children.

When you die without a will, your state laws dictate what happens to your estate. Do you want to see your family struggle to obtain the things that you purchased or collected over the years? If not, then a will is the answer for you.

States do recognize spouses, blood relatives and registered domestic partners, but there can be trouble in other situations. For instance, if you've lived with your partner for five years but never married or registered as domestic partners, your partner, a girlfriend or boyfriend by law, would not be entitled to anything from the estate except for items in his or her name or shared in both your names. Unmarried partners, charities and friends get nothing by law if you pass away without a will.

There are a few exceptions to the rule. For example, if you have taken out a life-insurance policy and named beneficiaries, then the beneficiaries will receive the payout regardless of whether or not you have a will. The same normally applies to a retirement account if you've already named a beneficiary. If you haven't taken the time to name a beneficiary on these accounts and pass away, the assets become part of the estate and are shared with those recognized as heirs. If you have no potential heirs, then the estate goes to the state.

Your attorney can help you draw up a will, so you know your beneficiaries will receive what you want them to. You can always alter the will, but it is necessary to have one as soon as possible.

Source: Nov. 30, -0001

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information