If you’re considering forgoing a will and just letting the cards fall as they may, you might want to reconsider. There are a lot of benefits that come with making a will, and once you understand a few things, it may change your mind. The following are some scenarios that could happen for those who die without having a will in place.
If you don’t have a spouse, you are considered single at the time of your death. If someone dies without a will and is single, the entire estate will go to the surviving children. If the individual has no children, the entire estate will typically go to his or her parents.
Siblings and half siblings will receive equal portions of the estate if the parents are not alive. If one parent is still living, that parent will receive an equal portion along with the siblings. Supposing the single individual also had no siblings, nephews or nieces, his or her mother’s side of the family would receive half of the estate, and the father’s side would receive the other half.
When someone is married at the time of death, his or her assets will be divided depending on how they were owned. If the spouses owned the assets equally as community property, the surviving spouse will receive the deceased spouse’s portion. If the spouses had separate property, the deceased’s assets would be equally split between the surviving spouse, the deceased’s siblings and his or her parents.
If the married individual who died had children, that changes things. If the current spouse is the other parent of the children, the spouse will inherit everything. If the children’s other parent is not the current spouse, the spouse will get up to half of the estate, and the other half or more will be given in equal parts to the surviving children.
Unfortunately, intestacy laws do not recognize a couple that was living together without being married. If someone dies without a will, his or her estate will not go to a live-in boyfriend or girlfriend. Instead, the deceased would be treated as a single individual, and assets would be divided as such.
Receiving Legal Guidance
As you can see, it’s important you have a will whether you’re married, not married, have children or don’t have children. Contact a will contest law firm in King of Prussia, PA today to receive legal guidance in getting your will started.
Thanks to Klenk Law for their insight into estate planning and wills.