The Outcome of Dying Without a Will

Many people will make a will prior to their deaths because they want their possessions to be handled in a way they would approve of. There are others who don’t make a will because they feel they’re not going to die any time soon or for another reason that makes sense to them. For those individuals without a will, the following is what would happen if they died.

If the Individual Is Single

If you die without a will and you are single, there is a process the court will go through to determine which relatives receive your estate. For example, if you have children, your children will typically receive the entire estate in equal portions. If your children have already passed away, but you have grandchildren, those grandchildren would inherit the estate in equal portions.

If you’re single without children, the chain that would generally be followed to inherit your estate would go as follows:

  • Your parents if they are both alive
  • Your siblings, half-siblings and a single surviving parent
  • Your siblings
  • Nieces and nephews
  • Your mother’s side and father’s side of the family

If the court has exhausted that list and you have no remaining relatives at all, your property would return to the state.

If the Individual Is Married

If you die without a will and are married at the time of your death, your surviving spouse might keep everything if it was jointly owned. If you have separate property from your spouse, it would typically be split between that spouse, your parents and your siblings. If you’re married and have children with that spouse, the estate would go to your spouse. If you’re married and have children from a former relationship, your spouse would receive half of the estate, and your children would receive equal portions of the other half.

If the Individual Is Unmarried 

If you die without a will and have been living with someone you’re romantically involved with, but have never been married, that surviving loved one would have no entitlement to your estate without a will. Intestacy laws only apply to actual relatives, so the same process would be followed as if the individual were single.

Learning More About Creating Your WillEveryone is going to die, and you can help secure a future for your surviving loved ones by creating a will. Learn more about creating a will today by contacting an estate planning lawyer, like one at Yee Law Group, PC, with the experience you need.