Whether you are a planner or not, there are some aspects of life you need to take the time to think about. A will, for starters, is a document that distributes wealth and property to heirs you name after you die. It does not mean anything while you are alive, but once you die, it should be one of a few estate planning documents that tell the courts what you want to be done with your belongings, both tangible and intangible. What happens if you do not create a will before your death? The repercussions of dying intestate depend upon your marital, familial and financial situation, as an estate attorney, like from Klenk Law, can explain.
If You Are Married
Some of your assets held jointly will your spouse will pass directly, such as:
- Bank accounts
- Retirement funds
- Investment accounts
What happens to those things you do not own jointly with your spouse? If you fail to create a will, it is highly likely that all of your separately owned property will go to your spouse when you die. The exception to this is in the case that you do not have children with your spouse. Your separate property will be divided between your spouse, parents, siblings or children from other relationships. If you have children with your spouse when you die, they will inherit everything.
Single With Children
Your children may need care, or they may be grown when you die. In either case, if you are single but have children, your total estate will pass to them or their guardian. For instance, if you are divorced, and your former spouse is their legal guardian, they will get control of your money to use on behalf of your children. Thus, if you do not want this to occur, creating a will and choosing a person to inherit the money on behalf of your children is the only way to stop it.
Unmarried Without Children
Dying without a spouse or children may create a mess in court if you don’t have a will. The judge will have to hear claims of anyone who comes forward, stating they are related to you and have a right to inherit. Logically, your heirs after your death in this situation start with your parents and extend to siblings. After this, the situation becomes more convoluted.
Even if you do prefer to think you will live forever, the reality is you will not. It is better to plan who gets what instead of relying on the court system to do it for you. An estate planning lawyer near you can be an invaluable source of insight into getting a comprehensive and actionable plan in place.