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What happens when you do not leave a will: Intestacy

Many people never get around to making a will and then leave behind their property in a situation called intestacy. This article will help you understand what that means and show you what you can do to make sure it doesn’t happen to your property.

What Is Intestacy?

Although the term sounds complicated, all intestacy means is that someone has died without a will that would have indicated what should be done with their property and other assets. When a person dies intestate, the intestacy laws of that state will determine who inherits the property and other assets.

Laws about intestate succession vary by state. But most states’ laws agree that property should be passed down to either a surviving spouse or children. In cases where there are no living relatives, even more complicated legal processes must be followed. The state will have to determine the best beneficiaries and begin the slow process of distributing your assets.

State Involvement

Without a will to direct your loved ones after your death, the state is obligated to intervene. Your property and other financial assets are initially passed to the state. A probate court will then determine appropriate beneficiaries for all your possessions and assets. The process is stressful and can be emotionally draining for grieving loved ones who are already enduring a difficult loss.

Intestacy laws attempt to distribute a person’s assets in a reasonable way. But how the state decides to allocate your assets might be very different from what you would want. Dying intestate leaves your loved ones in the difficult situation of possibly having to go along with decisions that wouldn’t have been right for you. Even if you’ve told your loved ones your wishes, without an official will to reference, your property will become an intestacy case for a probate court.

Not only can probate court be emotionally taxing, time-consuming, and stressful for your loved ones, but it can also be expensive. The financial burden of probate court and related legal costs will first come out of your estate and remaining assets. This means that whatever you had planned to pass down to your loved ones will now be reduced as a result of legal fees and court procedures. Losing a loved one is already a challenging, grief-filled time for people. You don’t want to make the situation any harder for your family.

Intestacy

How to Prevent Intestacy: Make a Will

The number one way to prevent intestacy is writing up an official last will and testament. While it might be difficult or upsetting to plan what happens after your death, it’s essential that you do. Dying intestate leaves your loved ones in an even more difficult position.

Intestacy not only leads to frustrating legal consequences but also often leads to conflict within the family. Without a will, loved ones may disagree about what you would have wanted and may dispute the state’s decisions. They are also the ones who will be responsible for dealing with the probate court once the case is brought there.

To avoid leaving behind a complicated legal battle of intestacy for your loved ones, make a will as soon as possible. It may sound difficult, but writing a will has never been easier. A variety of free online will templates are available. Most wills don’t require legal assistance, unless your situation is particularly unique. You can get to work right away making sure your property and assets get passed down to the right people.

Leaving a will for your loved ones will help them avoid stressful encounters with probate courts. It also alleviates the uncertainty about what you would have wanted. Intestacy is complicated and time-consuming. You have the power to protect the people you care about from having to deal with it. Make sure that writing a will is a top priority in your end of life planning.

Woman using My Family Documents

How My Family Documents Can Help

Clearly, making a will is a critical first step to protect your property and assets after your death. If you want your loved ones to avoid the stress of probate court, you should get to work on your will now. With your final wishes clearly expressed, you can be reassured that your family will know what to do when the time comes.

But storing your will and other important documents is the next important step. It will make sure your loved ones are able to handle your affairs after your death. Many people write up their will and then hide it away to keep it safe. While they may have had good intentions, their disorganization can wreak havoc on the family members left behind when they can’t find the will when they need it.

Fortunately, you can protect your loved ones from the unnecessary chaos of disorganized personal documents. My Family Documents provides a secure, easy-to-use information storage tool that can help you organize, store, and access your critical documents.

After you die, your loved ones will need to be able to access a variety of your important documents. These documents can include your will, your financial statements, your insurance policies, your account passwords, your investment portfolios, and any information regarding your other assets.

My Family Documents: Flash Drive

The USB flash drive that My Family Documents offers allows you to securely organize all these documents in one place. It comes pre-programmed with organizational software that helps you keep all your information in the right place. Unlike web-based storage options, My Family Documents is more secure and charges only a one-time fee. Many internet-based options charge annual fees and can be hacked by cyber criminals. My Family Documents offers a physical device. You choose where you store to keep it safe and requires only a single one-time payment. Just make sure to let your loved ones know where you keep it.

Without an easy way to locate your information, your loved ones can end up in a situation of intestacy after you die. Making a will is important, but storing it is equally important. With My Family Documents, you get the peace of mind that all your critical information is in one safe place that your loved ones can access. 

Avoiding intestacy is easy. My Family Documents can help you make sure your property ends up in the hands of those you trust. 

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