A lot of issues appear when will and testament is brought into the topic. People may consider such matters to be tricky to contemplate upon, so they set it aside in the too-hard basket. The cost of will preparation is yet another factor to take into account, while some simply don’t take the time for it.
But a host of problems can happen if you don’t have a will. When you die, the law will take control of how your money, your properties and other possessions would be shared. In this case, they could either be passed on to someone you don’t intend them for or somebody whom you want to have them ends up with nothing.
Without a will, you will be unsure what is going to happen to the people you care about (after you die), and at the same time, things can be troublesome in terms of the fate of your properties and assets.
What Happens If You Die Without A Will? Understanding Intestacy Rules
Filing a will is necessary to ensure the appropriate management of your assets when you depart. With your instructions in the said documents, they will be allocated accordingly to your surviving family members as congruent to your wishes. Or else, they would have to deal with the problems brought about by intestacy.
Intestacy is a situation wherein someone dies without leaving a will. Thus, they had left no guidelines as to who their properties and assets must be passed on to. The state’s intestacy laws will determine who will be the heirs of your possessions if you die without leaving a will.
As an example, below is how an intestate estate tends to be distributed:
- Intestate succession assumes the list of kin who have the primary right to inherit if a decedent has no estate plan. A relative who is further down the line will typically have no inheritance whatsoever if kins who are ahead of them are still living.
- According to intestacy rules, a surviving spouse receives typically half of the decedent’s estate at the least. If the deceased has no living children or grandchildren, the spouse may inherit the entire estate.
- If the spouse and children are still alive, they are generally bound to share the entire estate. If a child dies before their parent, their children- the grandchildren of the deceased- are likely to receive their parent’s share. But the inheritance will go to the parents if they are still living.
- Next in line are the parents and siblings, after which follows are aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews and cousins. An unmarried partner, friends and charities are not deemed as heirs – no matter how emotionally close they may have been to the deceased.
- An adopted child is an heir in the same way as a legitimate child of the decedent, as well as a child/children that are born after their death.
- If an heir has criminally instigated the death of the deceased, they are generally barred from receiving any inheritance.
These are some of the ways the law determines intestate heirs.
Dying Without A Will: What Problems Can Occur?
Why make a will? For the most part, a will is like a financial roadmap that you leave to your loved ones to guide them about what to do next after you die. As valuable documents, your last will and testament will set out the exact instructions on how you prefer your assets are to be divided. Having them legally prepared will prevent your family from experiencing further distress at an already difficult time when the time of your passing has come.
Otherwise, if you don’t take measures in preparing a will, complications can ensue, particularly to your next of kin.
- You won’t get to choose who gets what
When you die, you will not have the prerogative as to who-gets-what when it comes to your estate and assets. When your final resting arrives, you will not be able to take control of what happens to your properties and possessions.
You will be unsure as to where your assets will go afterwards and have no certainty about who will pay for your debts and taxes.
- Leaving a feud to your family and loved ones
Your loved ones and relatives will be left with a feud if you don’t leave proper directives as to how your assets and estate will be distributed.
There are cases when an unmarried partner dies and a parent is compelled to sue their children to obtain their share of their deceased partner’s estate. However, in such circumstances, the law says that the children would get everything.
Legalising your will prevents feud that may cause broken promises while you are living. For instance, if you promised your one adult child (who left the paid workforce to be your primary caregiver) a significant portion of your estate, realise that only a will can make your intention legitimate. Or else, none of your other heirs are going to know about it, and they might even accuse your child of skimming over the estate.
- Your children will be left behind without a guardian
If you leave minor children behind, you will establish their custody. It resolves the problem as to who will take care of them when you die and what is going to happen to the assets that are supposed to be handed to them when you depart.
- Your pets will not get the care you wish for them
What about your pets? With a will, you can find someone willing to take care of your pets.
- You will not get the funeral you wish
In your will, you can clearly state what you want to happen during your funeral. With such documents, you can create a separate letter that your family members can find upon your death.
Is it required by law to file a will?
By and large, it is not illegal to not file a will, and this is where most people commit a huge mistake. According to research by Unbiased.co.uk, over 60% or more than half of adults in the UK have not acquired a will. That said, approximately 31 million people are currently running the risk of dying intestate and are apt to have their estate solely distributed on the terms of intestacy laws. These laws that dictate who gets what varies in Wales, England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, nevertheless common problems take place regardless of where you live.
You can write your will by yourself, but it is better to get advice to make it straightforward. You then make it legally valid by having it formally witnessed and signed. If you want to update the document, you can do so through an official alteration, which is also called a “codicil”. You have the option to make a new will as well.
Intestacy Laws: Rules That Apply If You Don’t Have A Will
The following are the standard rules if you don’t make a will.
Who are considered as heirs?
The state’s intestacy rules determine who is entitled to inherit. The deciding state may be that where the decedent lived, or wherein the physical property is located when they died.
Who can get your estate/assets?
Properties not subject for intestate succession
Their heirs can inherit only a deceased’s probate estate, and it is required without a will. This process of inheritance follows the state law instead of the final wishes of the departed
The probate estate excludes that which passes directly to a legal beneficiary through other means, including a deed or a life insurance policy. So in case a decedent (when they died) owned only a real estate that is titled with another individual’s rights of survivorship along with a life insurance policy wherein their son is beneficiary, the other heirs would not get anything because the deceased would have no probate estate.
Matters that relate to heirship and intestate succession tend to be an elaborate area of law, and these laws may change all too often. It is best to consult an attorney for the most recent or updated advice.
Why it is essential to have a will
It is thus vital to have a will so that your money, property and possessions are going to be shared according to your wishes when you die. This means that these assets of yours would be passed on to those you intended them for, and not to those who you don’t prefer to have a share. You would be leaving in peace, knowing that your family is secured in their future, as well as that of their share in your estate.
Will Preparation Made Easy and Accurate With A Trustworthy Company
It is fundamentally important to file a will and have it validated. Otherwise, your property and assets, and above all, your surviving family would be in chaos when you depart. The 5 main problems that can arise if you don’t acquire a will are that you won’t get to choose who gets what, your relatives and loved ones will be left with a feud, your children would be left behind without a guardian, no one would care for your pets and you will not be honoured with the funeral that you wish.
You can particularly address and resolve these difficulties if you acquire a will that indicates your wishes and directives concerning the allocation and management of your estate.
There are a plethora of complexities of dying intestate because the law will dictate who gets to share your assets and not according to your wishes. You don’t want your loved ones to contend with the complications that can occur if you die without leaving a will.
The rules of intestacy are imposed if you don’t arrange valid “instructions” as to how your possessions will be distributed when you die, and in the end, you might find it very displeasing.
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