What If I Don’t Have A Will?

August 2017

Many people assume that if they pass away without a will, the state will get their assets. In reality, if you pass away without a will, the laws of intestacy will control the disposition of your estate. The laws of intestacy are the laws that determine who is entitled to your property under state-specific distribution laws. For example, in the state of Minnesota, § 524.101 explains what an intestate estate consists of and how such property is distributed.

The typical order of for intestate succession is the following: spouse, children, parents, siblings, nieces, and nephews, and it can continue from there. However, each state differs and could have specific rules as to what is inherited and what is exempted from the intestate statute.

While it may seem like the easy thing to do is to let the state decide what to do with your assets, it could be a difficult process for your loved ones after your passing. In addition, you really have no control over who will receive your assets.  Finally, the probate process is more complicated (and more expensive) due to the need to determine heirship and priority for the representative administering the estate.  FMJ estate planning attorneys can help determine what sort of estate plan is the best for you with your goals in mind.

This post was written by Trusts & Estates attorney David Ness.  If you have any questions or would like to discuss your estate planning options, contact David at david.ness@fmjlaw.com.