Adults have many responsibilities, so things sometimes fall by the wayside. Unfortunately, your family members can suffer if your estate plan falls into that category. Individuals who die without a will are said to have died intestate. At that point, the state’s succession laws come into the picture.
What happens if you die without a will?
Your spouse and your children are the primary recipients of an estate. If you have a spouse without any children, the spouse gets the entire estate. If you don’t have a spouse but have children, the estate is divided between the children. This is done per stirpes, which means that if one of your children dies, their shares are divided among their children.
Things get a little more complex if you have a spouse and children. In this case, your spouse would receive 1/3 of the estate. Alternatively, the spouse can also receive the equivalent of one child’s share. The division option that’s chosen depends on which is larger, which is the one the spouse will receive.
There are also rules for what happens if there isn’t a spouse or there aren’t any children. This includes other descendants, such as your parents or siblings.
How can you protect your family’s future?
Creating your estate plan doesn’t have to be a difficult undertaking. Sit down and think about what you feel is important to plan for. You can discuss this with your attorney to determine what you’re going to do. Ultimately, it’s imperative that you get everything written down in a legal manner so your loved one can focus on working through the grieving process instead of battling over your estate.