When a person dies owning property without having a Will, the state where the person resided at death (often called the state of domicile) will apply its laws to determine how the person’s estate is distributed. Every state has a Law of Intestacy which determines how an estate will be distributed when an individual dies without a Will. These laws, and the way they distribute the decedent’s property, vary from state to state but will take into account whether the decedent was married at the time of death, had surviving children and grandchildren and/or parents. Suffice it to say, while these laws may distribute one’s property exactly as they would want, that is very often not the case.
Sure, you’ll leave your spiritual legacy behind but what about your tangible assets? Do you want your state government determining who receives your hard earned and sometimes sentimental possessions when you pass? If you die without a Will that’s just what happens. So, if you want to say who gets your possessions after your passing, then put the task of making a will on your urgent “to-do list”, before fate and the state take over. Call an Elder Law Attorney, a lawyer well versed in Wills, Trusts and Estate Planning, to be sure your Will is prepared to the letter of your state’s law.