Do you have a will or plan on getting one? If you don’t, you should reconsider. I’ve heard all the excuses in the book: “I can’t afford it,” “I’m too young,” “I’m afraid,” or simply, “I don’t need one.” However, not having a will affects your loved ones, your pets, and your possessions—not in good ways. Do you really want your family to learn what happens if you die without a will the hard way?
We can tell you now that you don’t: Read on to learn why that is.
What Happens If You Die Without a Will
In short, if you die and you don’t have a will, also known as dying intestate, you have no legal right over what anybody does with your stuff from there on out. That process is instead decided for you based on others’ wishes and intestacy laws.
This has a number of problematic consequences, including but not limited to:
Effects on Your Family
If you die intestate and are the only parent/guardian of any minors, they will be placed with a guardian by the court. If another parent/guardian of theirs is still living and are deemed capable of caring for children, then the kids stay with them.
Unfortunately, if you just don’t like or trust the other parent, it makes no difference so long as the court sees no issue.
Effects on Your Property
Probably the most common question about writing wills is, “If someone dies without a will, who inherits their property?”
The truth is, there’s no easy way to determine this. Your estate will be divided per state law, and this could leave people you wanted to include without anything.
Effects on Your Pets
You may consider your pets members of the family, but for legal purposes, they’re property. So, if you don’t have a will and leave them (and perhaps some resources) to someone you trust, they’ll probably just be given to whichever individual wants them.
If nobody stands up, your pet could be put in a shelter!
You Can’t Afford Not To
One of the biggest reasons people die without wills is that they feel they can’t afford it. The simple fact is that not writing a will can lead to more financial trouble for your family members than paying for one possibly can.
Working with a lawyer to write an effective will is key to minimizing frustrating estate taxes, and will allow you to provide for your loved ones after you’re gone.
Create a Will Today
Now that you’ve read about what happens if you die without a will, you know that there’s no excuse to not get one written:
- If you can’t afford it right now, it’s worth saving up or making a financial plan that allows you to pay over time
- You can’t be too young—Whether we like it or not, tragedy can strike at any time, so it’s vital to prepare
- The only thing you have to fear is what happens if you don’t write a will
- You do need one, and your loved ones deserve that from you!
In the Lehigh Valley area, Crosson & Richetti would be honored to help plan your estate. With years of certified professional practice backing our services, we’re guaranteed to do right by you, so don’t delay!