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What is ‘dying intestate’?

On Behalf of | Jul 8, 2021 | Estate Planning |

There are many good reasons to craft a solid estate plan, but many Americans put off doing so. This results in thousands of Americans dying without an estate plan in place every year.

When this occurs, it can cause a lot of difficulty both on the familial and legal levels. According to FindLaw, dying without a will means that you have died “intestate.”

What if I die intestate?

The exact laws governing what happens if you die without an estate plan or will in place depends on the state where you died. In the majority of cases, assuming that you have a spouse or children, the law will split your estate among them.

Keep in mind that dying with no will can cause a lot of strife if you happen to have a partner but are not married to him or her. Intestacy laws only recognize relatives through blood or marriage.

What if I am single?

In the event that you died and are both single and childless, it is likely that the first in line for your estate will be your parents. In the event that your parents have predeceased you, then your estate will go to your siblings in equal parts if this is possible.

If you have no siblings or if they have also predeceased you, the next in line are the descendants of your siblings. If you had no siblings or your siblings had no issue, then they will divide your estate between any relatives living on your mother’s side and any living relatives on your children’s side. If you have zero estate plan whatsoever and no relatives that the government can locate, your estate will go to the state.