What Happens if You Die Without a Will?

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What Is a Will?

A will is a legal document that spells out your wishes after your death, preventing that those wishes may not be carried out. You can take care of many things that would otherwise be decided by the court if you die intestate (without a will). For instance, you can determine the distribution of your property and the care of any minor children, among others. Continue reading to learn what happens if you die without a will and if you have further questions, speak with a knowledgeable Orange County will attorney.

What Is Probate?

Probate is a legal process and will vary if whether the deceased had a will or if they died intestate (without a will). In both cases, the probate court will be in charge of supervising how the descendant’s property will be distributed.

What Happens if You Die Without a Will and You’re Single?

There are numerous scenarios that can occur if you are single and die without a will. To illustrate, if you have no children, your parents will likely inherit your entire estate. If one of your parents has already passed away, your assets will be divided among the surviving parent and any siblings that you may have. On the other hand, if you are single and have children, then your entire estate generally will go to your children, in equal shares.

What Happens if You Die Without a Will and You’re Married?

Without a will, your spouse might not inherit as much as you’d think. The laws are different in every state. Your estate will either go to your spouse or be split among your spouse, parents, and siblings.

What Happens if You Die Without a Will and You’re an Unmarried Couple?

Unmarried couples don’t have the same legal protection as married couples. Unmarried cohabiting couples have no automatic right of inheritance if their partner dies without a will. Unmarried partners do not benefit under intestacy rules (legal rules that will decide who benefits from your estate if you die without one). Therefore, a will can play a big role here clearing stating a person’s intentions regarding their property distribution. Otherwise, when they die, the decedent’s property will be divided between relatives, depending on their relation to the decedent.

If You Die Without a Will, What Happens to Your Things?

If you die without a will (intestate), the probate process will start, and your assets would be frozen and inaccessible to your heirs until the courts decide who will distribute them. Courts will follow state intestacy laws since your actual wishes remain unknown.

If You Die Without a Will, Who Takes Care of Your Kids?

If you have children but pass away without a will in place, the courts decide on a guardian for them. Usually, a family member will step in to take care of your children. By creating a will, among other dispositions, you get to choose who will take care of your children, people you trust to raise them with the same care and values as you.

How Evolution Tax and Legal Can Help You Write a Will

If you are wondering to write a will to prevent your loved ones’ wasting time and money, you can always come in for a consultation to discuss your situation. Our team can help guide you through an estate planning that best fits your needs. Please contact us if you’d like to understand the next steps beforehand.