03.28.19

Estate Planning FAQs: What Happens If I Don’t Have a Will When I Die?


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What happens to a person's estate if they die without a will?

If you die without a will, you give up control of your estate to the state where you lived. The laws of your state will determine who your heirs will be and the state will choose the executor of your estate. 

In other words, if you die without a will, your estate will be distributed based on the intestacy laws of the state where you live at the time of your death and the intestacy laws of any other state where you own real estate. The courts will decide how your assets are divided. In many cases, your property is distributed among your heirs-at-law, which may include a spouse, children, grandchildren and siblings.

Although inheritance laws vary from state to state, they generally favor spouses and blood relatives. Under state laws, unmarried patners, blood relatives and charities will usually get nothing.

Children

If you have minor children, a will becomes extremely important. If you don't have a will when you die, the courts will appoint a guardian. The judge will get as much information as possible about the children, and the deceased parents' wishes and try to make a smart decision. The primary rule is that the judge must always act in the best interests of the children. But the judge will not know what your personal wishes were when it comes to who you would want to have care for your kids.

Taxes

The federal inheritance tax is applied to estates valued at more than $11 million. These estates may pay up to 40% in taxes. But many states have their own inheritance tax. State inheritance taxes are usually based on a lower inheritance amount than the federal tax, and the tax rate is also usually lower.

Learn more about the intestate process here.

The only way to be sure that your assets and minor children are treated according to your wishes is to write a will.

Contact us today to begin the process so you can rest easier knowing that the assets you worked so hard to obtain, will be distributed according to your preferences.

Contact Us

Kevin Miller is here to help you create a will or guide you through the estate planning process. It is important that you make writing a will a priority. It will make the probate process much easier for your family after your death. Kevin Miller has extensive experience in wills, probate and estate planning and will put your interests first. 

If you have further questions, or are ready to get started on your will, contact us through the website, or by calling 405-443-5100.

We are here to help.