What happens if I die without creating a will?

Most people in America understand that it is important to have a will to ensure that when a person passes away, their property will transfer properly to their beneficiaries. However, far too many people put off creating any kind of will at all, because they assume they’ll get around to it, or possibly even fear creating it.

In the last several years, we’ve seen several high-profile celebrities pass away with significant estates and no will to direct how to disperse their property. Unfortunately, this means that the government must step in and more or less seize the property until it determines how to disperse it according to state law.

Failing to create a will places those you love in the difficult position of depending on the good graces of the government to determine what portion of your estate they receive, or if they get anything from your estate at all.

If you have yet to create a will, don’t wait any longer. The sooner you create your will, the sooner you can rest assured that your loved ones won’t have to deal with the long, frustrating process of estate administration, and the sooner you can protect your wishes for your property.

Dying intestate

If you pass away and have no will to direct your estate distribution, then the law must determine who gets a portion of your estate. This typically has nothing to do with your preferences, even if you verbally expressed them to others many times.

Instead, the law follows guidelines based around how many direct and extended family members are still living. For instance, if you are single when you die and have no children to inherit your estate, then your estate typically goes to your parents, or if you have no living parents, then to your siblings, and so on.

If you are married or have children of your own, the law breaks down very specifically which party receives a portion, and the specifics of your circumstances are crucial here. Should you pass away with a domestic partner, the state may or may not recognize them as a direct beneficiary.

Each configuration of surviving family members changes how the distribution occurs, but, in most cases, the distribution is not satisfying to the parties involved. Unless you truly do not care at all about your family and beneficiaries, or your property, then it is very important to create a will as soon as possible.

Protect yourself now

Waiting to create a will is gambling with your own property and with the lives of those you love. Navigating the estate administration process is not simple, and it typically depletes the value of the estate along the way. Be sure to create a will as soon as you can to make your wishes for your property known and to help those you love avoid a lengthy and frustrating legal process after you pass away.

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