If you die without having a will, the legal term for this is dying intestate. You may think that most people who have valuable assets to pass on already have detailed estate plans in place so their families know what to do after they pass. However, dying intestate happens more often than you’d imagine. Here’s what could potentially happen to your surviving family members if you were to die intestate.
What Does Dying Intestate Mean?
Dying intestate means you have passed away without leaving notarized, legal instructions about what to do with your assets. Ideally, when a person passes away, they will have an estate plan in place that gives detailed information about how their money, cars, properties, businesses, and other valuables should be distributed to their loved ones. Most people want to leave these assets to their children, grandchildren or other surviving family members.
Who Gets What if There is No Will?
If you pass away without a will, your assets will be distributed according to your state’s law of intestacy. New Jersey’s law of intestacy has different stipulations for a variety of family situations, such as passing away with a spouse and children from the same marriage, passing away with a spouse and stepchildren, passing away with a spouse and no children, or passing away with no spouse and no children. Speak with an estate planning attorney to learn more about the intestacy law, specific to your state.
What is The Administration Process?
The administration of your estate, in line with your state’s intestacy laws, will take place in the County in which you were a resident at the time of your death. The Surrogate Court will appoint an administrator who will review your estate and follow the intestacy laws until all of your assets have been distributed as required by law.
How To Avoid Burdening Those You Leave Behind
Dying intestate can be a burden to your family because they aren’t in control of the process. It can also be a very emotionally difficult time, and dealing with the court and the administrator can add undue stress and frustration while your family is dealing with your loss. We recommend having a comprehensive estate plan in place to avoid dying intestate.
For more information about what happens if you die without a will, or if you’d like to speak with us about creating an estate plan, please contact our team at SCC Legal today. You could also visit our website at: https://www.scclegal.com/