Intestate is a word nobody wants to think about, but it’s a reality that you are most likely to face. Also known as dying intestate, it can create complications and uncertainties for their loved ones. And now the question remains: what happens to someone’s money when they pass away without a will?
This question can bring up a lot of confusion and stress, especially for those left behind. But here are some answers worth considering.
Appointing an Executor
When someone passes without a will, their assets and money distribution falls under the court’s authority. The court will designate an executor to handle the process of distributing the deceased’s estate.
This is often a family member or close friend deemed responsible and capable of carrying out the duties of an executor. The court may appoint a professional executor if no one is suitable or willing to take responsibility.
Once an executor is appointed, they must gather all the deceased’s assets, including money, property, and other valuable belongings. They must also pay off any outstanding debts or taxes the deceased owes using the assets.
After all the debts are settled, the rest of the assets will be allocated according to state laws. The executor must act impartially and follow the state’s intestacy laws, as they can be held personally liable in any event of defiance.
Identifying the Beneficiaries
Once an executor is chosen to handle the deceased’s affairs, the next step is determining the heirs. Heirs are the individuals entitled to receive the assets and money of the deceased according to state laws.
If the deceased had a surviving spouse, they are typically the first to inherit their share of the assets. If there is no surviving spouse, the assets may be divided among the children of the deceased.
In cases where there is no surviving spouse or children, the distribution of assets may extend to more distant families, such as parents, siblings, or even nieces and nephews. It is worth noting that the state’s laws will determine who the heirs are without a will based on a pre-determined hierarchy.
It is important to note that the state’s laws may also vary, so what may be considered an heir in one state may not be in another. In some cases, the state may also step in to handle the distribution of assets if no heirs can be found. This is known as escheat, and the state will typically take possession of the assets until a rightful heir is identified.
Why Consulting an Attorney Is Important
Seeking legal advice is crucial when dealing with the distribution of someone’s money after they die without a will. An attorney can guide and assist in ensuring the assets are distributed according to state laws. They can also help navigate any potential conflicts or disputes that may arise between family members.
Don’t leave your loved ones in a complicated and uncertain situation. Kickstart your estate planning needs earlier on by taking advantage of the free will forms offered at forms.legal. With these resources, you can quickly and efficiently plan to distribute your assets, leaving your loved ones with peace of mind. You may download last will and testament for California, Texas, Florida or for any other US state here at this website.