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November 30, 2020

What Occurs With An Individual’s Estate In The Absence Of A Will?

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Workers Compensation Lawyer

Dying without a will isn’t going to turn out the same for each individual it happens to. One person might have a large family, while another individual might be completely alone, making the outcome different. The following are some common scenarios that explain what will happen to a person’s estate if he or she dies without a will in place.

The Deceased Was Single

Some single individuals have children, and others do not. If someone dies and is single, but has a child, the entire estate typically goes to the surviving child. If there are multiple children, they generally receive equal shares of the estate. If you have a child who preceded you in death, and you have a grandchild from that particular child, the grandchild would get the deceased child’s portion of the estate.

If someone is single and has no children, the estate goes to the parents of the deceased. If the parents have already passed away, the surviving siblings would receive equal shares. It then moves to nieces and nephews if there are no siblings, and on to the mother’s side and father’s side of the family receiving equal shares if there are no direct immediate family members.

The Deceased Was Married

In most cases, your surviving spouse will receive your entire estate if you are married; especially if you have children with that spouse. One situation in which this may not happen is if you had children with another individual. Your children’s other parent would receive half of the estate and your current spouse would receive the other half. If you have no children at all, your spouse, siblings and parents would receive equal shares of your personal estate.

The Deceased Was Living With a Boyfriend or Girlfriend

Unfortunately, there are no rights for individuals living together as partners. If you are in a long-term relationship with someone when you die, even if you have been living together for two years, that individual would not receive anything unless your family decides to give it to him or her. Instead, it would go through the same process as if you were single.

The Deceased Was In a Domestic Partnership

Not every state recognizes domestic partnerships, so this may depend on where you live when you die. In some states, your domestic partner will inherit the same as a spouse would inherit. In other states, the domestic partner would not receive anything.

Contacting an Attorney to Plan Your Estate

As you can see, things can get messy if you die without a will. Instead of leaving your family in a mess, contact an estate attorney, to discuss your obligations.

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