28 May 0
You work hard your whole life saving and investing to have a great retirement. If you were not able to spend all your money before your death, you want to make sure those hard-earned assets are passed to intended family members and/or friends. Without a Will, your assets could be left to your State of domicile.
When a person dies without a Will it is called intestate. Your property will pass through the probate process and the courts will decide who the beneficiaries are of your property/assets.
Look at the following situations and understand what happens to your assets if you die without a Will:
If You Are Single And Have No Children
- If both of your parents are alive, then your assets will pass to both of your parents, equally.
- If only one parent is alive, assets will pass to your surviving parent.
- If both parents have died, then your assets must be distributed amongst your siblings.
- If there are no surviving parents or siblings, the State has a hierarchy of beneficiaries.
- If you have no surviving family members, then all of your assets will go to your State of domicile.
If You Are Single And Have Children
- If you are single and have children, your entire estate will go to your children. At age 18 they can spend the money however they want (sports cars, parties, vacations, gambling, etc.) unless you provide otherwise.
If You Die While Married
- Any property that is acquired during the marriage is considered marital property except property inherited or gifted that is kept separate and never used for any marital property, which is very hard to do. Separate property of a spouse is any property owned prior to the marriage and any property acquired through inheritance or gift as long as the property doesn’t get combined with the marital property (this will vary depending on the State of domicile.)
- Your spouse will receive the entirety of the marital property if all of your children are the children of your spouse. However, if you have children from a previous marriage, then your share of the marital property will go to your child(ren) and your spouse only gets to keep his or her share of the marital property. (this will vary depending on the State of domicile.)
- If you do not have any children or any other descendants, then your spouse will receive all of your separate property.
Please be aware that all Wills go through the probate process. Having a Will in place at your death gives the court direction of disbursing your assets and property. Probate is expensive and takes about a year.
As you can see not having a Will can cause a lot of headaches and uncertainty during a difficult time if you pass away without a Will. Having a Will provides you with a direction of what and how much goes to whom. A probate court will merely allocate the estate as per the law and not in accordance with your desires and wishes. In order to certify that your last wishes are fulfilled, you can contact me. As an Elder Law Attorney in Wisconsin, I can help you not only in preparing a Will, but I can develop other strategies for assuring that your property will pass to the right person after your death. I can create an estate plan that will protect the beneficiary’s assets from divorce, creditors, lawsuits, foolish spending, etc. if desired.
Call me at (262) 812-6262 to arrange a complimentary meeting.