Many never think about the possibility of dying without a will, but this is still a legitimate question to ask. When a person dies without leaving documentation of their wishes, or makes a will which is not legally valid, everything goes out the window.
The rules of intestacy determine the estate’s distribution, and the estate will be doled out according to the associated laws, protocols, traditions, and procedures. These rules mandate that only married or civil partners and a few close relatives may inherit the assets left behind. Let’s take a closer look at some of these rules.
What Happens if You Die Without A Will
If a person dies without a valid will in place, things may get complicated quickly. Questions arise and may include:
- What happens to a mortgage if the mortgagee dies?
- What happens to a house when the owner dies?
- What happens to a person’s bank account?
- How is next of kin determined?
On the death of a property owner who has a mortgage, the promissory note allows the creditor the grant to repayment. If the estate can’t fully repay the mortgage, the lender is then able to begin the process leading to the sale of the property.
When a sole homeowner dies, the structure is transferred according to the guide in the will. If they die without a will, the structure is transferred according to state laws.
Money in a bank account is not part of an estate and won’t be quickly or easily transferred to a beneficiary. However, the beneficiary may go to the bank with a death certificate and identification.
The state’s probate laws determine who qualifies as next of kin and stands to inherit the estate.
There are four main requirements which form the foundation of a valid will; Affinity Legal Estate Planning is best positioned to help with each. A valid will:
- Must have been drafted with testamentary intent
- The testator must have testamentary capacity
- Must have been drafted without fraud, duress, or mistake
- Must have been duly executed
Married and civil partners inherit assets following the rules of intestacy if they are legally married, or in a civil partnership, when they die. If you are divorced, you won’t inherit anything.
Children, Couples, and Partners
If there are surviving children, grandchildren, or great-grandchildren and the estate is valued at over $250,000, the legal partner will inherit the personal property and belongings, the first $250,000 of the estate and half of what remains.
In cases where there are no surviving children, grandchildren, or great-grandchildren, the partner inherits all assets and personal property of the deceased and the experts at Affinity Legal Estate Planning can help transfer assets.
If a couple jointly owns their home and were joint tenants when the first partner dies, the survivor will inherit the other’s share of the property. If the partners are tenants in common, the surviving partner does not inherit the other person’s share automatically.Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.