What happens if I die without a will? This is an important question when thinking about the goals you have for your family. Without a will or an estate plan, you already have a plan- your state’s plan. Without a will, your estate will need to go through the probate process. Probate is a pretty common process as it’s estimated that 67% of Americans don’t have an estate plan. But while it may be a common process, it’s not something you want to go through, or put your loved ones through.

What happens if I die without a will?

The short answer is that your loved ones will need to go through the probate process. Probate is the court process of settling one’s estate is they die without an estate plan. Every state has various laws when it comes to probate, but regardless of the laws, probate takes a lot of time and can be very costly. The process is also public, so any family business that you don’t want aired can be found if someone really wants to take a look. Your family will need to go through the process so the state can determine how your assets should be disbursed. Many think that their spouse or children would automatically get their assets anyway, but that isn’t always the case.

Without a will, the probate process makes your estate vulnerable to potentially ending up in the wrong hands. Because it is a public process, there may be creditors, or even estranged family members, who may try to stake their claim. No matter how unwarranted those claims may be, they still are taken into account and could cause the fight to drag on, costing more time and money. This just makes the process endlessly more stressful for your loved ones. Your money or other personal items that you were hoping to pass on may end up in the wrong hands. Financially speaking, without a proper estate plan, any inheritance you were hoping to leave could be lessened by the probate process through court and attorney fees. There’s also taxes to consider, which could be properly planned for with an estate plan.

Having an estate plan can give you peace of mind that your loved ones will be taken care of and everything you’ve worked so hard for will end up in the right hands. Always consult with a professional in your area when it comes to estate planning. You need a plan that’s tailored to your life. Let us know any questions you have and let us help you start the process.

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Disclaimer: This article is intended to serve as a general summary of the issues outlined therein. While this article may include general guidance, it is not intended as, nor is a substitute for, qualified legal advice. Your review or receipt of this article by Lexern Law Offices, Ltd. (the “LLG”) or any of its attorneys does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and the LLG. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors of the article and does not reflect the opinion of the LLG.