What if there is no last will and testament?
When a person passes away without a last will and testament, they are said to die intestate. In an intestacy, what happens to a person’s property is then determined by the law of the state where they were residing when they passed away.
Each state’s laws regarding what happens when someone dies intestate are slightly different. However, in general terms, what happens is as follows. If the deceased was married, their spouse will get approximately half of the estate. The remaining half will go to the deceased’s children. If there are no children, the remaining half will go to the deceased’s parents. If the parents are deceased, the remaining half will go to the deceased’s brothers and sisters.
Similarly, if someone dies intestate and was not married, their estate goes to their children. If there are no children, the estate goes to the deceased’s parents. If the parents are deceased, the estate will go to the deceased’s brothers and sisters.
Note that for intestacy purposes, an adopted child is treated the same as a natural born child.
Even if you are happy with what will happen to your assets if you die intestate, it still makes sense to have a last will and testament. Administering an estate without a will is a long, expensive, and complex procedure. Having a will makes the administration of your estate go much more quickly and cheaply. The added costs involved in an intestacy are much higher than drafting a last will and testament.