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4 Ways Dying Without a Will Can Affect Your Loved Ones

Posted on July 22nd, 2020 by Oddo & Babat, P.C.

Personal Injury Lawyer

Thinking about your own mortality can be difficult, which may be preventing you from making a will. You may also believe that wills are for those with a great deal of money, property and heirs. However, your will may benefit a variety of people, from your adult children to your grandkids to your spouse. Without a will in place, there may be a great deal of confusion once you pass and have a negative effect on those left behind.

  1. Intestacy Laws May Prevail 

When you pass before making a will, all of your property and assets enter intestate, which means that the laws of the state in which you reside decide how property and valuables are split between your heirs. As such, any wishes you had regarding the division of trusts and property may be ignored. If no heirs come forward to claim property, then your state of residency may take the estate.

  1. Heirs May Not Benefit 

Money that you set aside for your heirs, such as grandchildren, may not reach them if you do not make a will before you pass. Even if your spouse or adult children knew how you intended to gift any money, failing to put your wishes in writing may mean the money goes elsewhere. Your heirs may have to enter probate court to win their inheritance or, if they are minors, depend on adults in the family to fight for them.

  1. Domestic Partners May Lose Property

If you lived in a domestic partnership with an individual, he or she may not inherit property or money depending on your state of residency. Some states do not recognize domestic partnership rights, including Kansas, Nebraska and Utah. Other states provide rights in certain areas, including cities and townships. These include New Mexico, New York and Texas. You may want to consult an attorney to learn which domestic partnerships apply in your area.

  1. Life Partners May Lose Out 

If you are living with a boyfriend or girlfriend and die without a will, he or she may be left with nothing in the aftermath. Intestate laws rarely recognize the rights of a live-in partner and divide the property among relatives instead. If you want your property and bank accounts to pass to someone other than your family, then making a will can be an effective way to secure the future.

Making a will before you pass can protect your loved ones and ensure that they benefit from what you leave behind. Contact an estate planning lawyer, such as Patterson Bray, today for more information and to schedule an initial consultation.


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