What Happens If You Die Without a Will?

Feb 13, 2023 | Estate Planning, Will


What Happens If You Die Without a Will?

Don’t Make the Last Mistake of Your Life!


The Top Ten List of Consequences If You Die Without a Will:

1. Your wishes may not be carried out.

If you have not created a will, any promises you may have made to family, friends, or other loved ones will have no binding effect.

2. The state will decide how your property is distributed.

Without a will to record your intentions, state law governs how your possessions and property are distributed.

3. Your partner may lose their home.

Are you and your partner married? Do you own a home jointly? If not and you have no will, the state will distribute your property­-including your home-to your legal beneficiaries as proscribed by law. That means your partner will be forced out of the home you share.

4. Your plans for your minor children will be lost, and someone appointed by the state may make decisions about their education and care.

If both parents die without a will, a court will decide who shall act as guardians over your children. The court-appointed guardian will make decisions about where your children live, and what type of medical care they receive, and will make educational decisions for them.

If you die without a will as the custodial parent and live with a partner, a court will likely return your children to the non-custodial parent, and your children may be prevented from living with or even seeing your partner.

Losing a parent is hard enough without the added stress caused by sudden, drastic changes to a child’s life.

5. Your loved ones may have to pay more tax and get less inheritance.

Dying without a will leaves your estate open to distribution by the state, which may cost your loved ones more tax than necessary. An attorney and certified financial planner can help draft a will that prevents payment of unnecessary taxes by your loved ones.

6. The distribution of your estate will take a lot longer.

If you die without a will, you leave your family to pick up the pieces at the worst possible time. Without a will to provide direction, the process takes longer.

7. Your family will be mired in chaos at the worst possible time.

If you die without a will, your loved ones will be forced to determine what is in your estate, how much your estate is worth, who the state says your beneficiaries are, and possibly even how to locate them. They will not have your wishes set forth in a will that requires them to do as instructed. Instead, they will have to substitute their decision-making for yours, a process that may be quite harrowing and put the administrator in the center of discord and disagreement.

8. Without a will, your legal beneficiaries may dispute their inheritance.

Without your direction in a will, your family may act on beliefs they had about what you intended to bequeath to them. This can end up, not only in bitter disagreement but in court battles as well.

9. Your family may end up with a large legal bill, nullifying any inheritance they may have received.

If you don’t have a will, your family may need more legal guidance to deal with the complexity and length of the probate process and the potential disagreements between potential beneficiaries.

10. Your family and personal heirlooms may end up in the wrong hands.

Without a will, your personal possessions may go to those beneficiaries proscribe by law to inherit your estate other than those loved ones to whom you had intended.



It’s simple. Contact your estates and trusts attorney today to help you develop your estate plan!

Your attorneys at SGW are standing by to assist you. Simply call 609-409-3500 today to speak with one of our attorneys.


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