The Unintended Consequences of Dying Without a Will

Everyone knows it’s important to have a Last Will and Testament. But, that doesn’t stop many of us from putting it off. Unfortunately, with only 44% of Americans having a will, millions of Americans are at risk of dying intestate (a situation where you don’t get to decide who inherits your assets). Here are some insights into the consequences of dying with no valid Last Will and Testament, from a leading estate planning attorney in New Jersey.

  • You No Longer Have a Say in Your Own Property

Having a Last Will and Testament allows you to control who gets your assets after you die. You know your family’s needs better than anyone else, which means you have the best insight into how to support your family in the event of your death. You’ll also be able to decide where sentimental items or family heirlooms should go, and what charities should inherit from your estate.

When you die without a will, none of your wishes – even if you have made them very clear to your loved ones – will be carried out. Instead, the state will have total control over how your assets are divided up and who inherits. This follows a very standard process known as probate, where typically, the bulk of your estate will go to your wife and children. If you have no wife or kids, your assets will go to your parents. If your parents are no longer alive, your assets will go to siblings and other relatives in a similar sequence. If the state can’t find any of your relatives, they keep your assets, which is known as escheatment.

  • You Won’t Have a Say in Your Children’s Guardianship

For parents, this is one of the most important reasons to have a Last Will and Testament. In it, you can decide together who will have legal guardianship over your minor kids in the event of your death. If you don’t have a will, guardianship will be appointed by the court. While they will try to make the best decision they can, they simply don’t have the ability to know your wishes or your family as well as you do.

  • You Can’t Provide for Loved Ones Who aren’t Related by Blood or Marriage

You might want to donate part of your estate to a charity or school close to your heart. Or you may not believe in marriage but spend years with a loved one without signing a legal document. In the eyes of the court, only blood relatives and legal marriages really matter, which can mean that people and organizations close to your heart are left without support. This not only means that your wishes aren’t met, but it can also mean the start of emotional, expensive court battles that can even result in the break up of families.

Provide Security for Your Loved Ones – Speak to an Estate Planning Attorney in New Jersey

At Sedita, Campisano and Campisano in New Jersey, estate planning attorney Frank Campisano is ready to assist you with all your estate planning needs, whether you need to make a business succession plan, Last Will and Testament, Power of Attorney, a Living trust or to minimize inheritance tax on your estate.

Contact us today and let us deliver expert estate planning advice to take care of all your wishes, regardless of whether your estate is big or small. For more information, please visit our website at

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