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What happens after dying without a will?

On Behalf of | Apr 20, 2023 | Estate Planning

When someone dies, emotions run high as the family grieves and deals with the loss. It can be a significantly distressing time for relatives affected deeply by their death. They might go through more stress if the deceased passed without a will.

If the deceased left no legal document indicating their wishes regarding their estate, intestate laws apply, and the probate court decides what happens next. As the court facilitates this process, family members might clash as they claim rights to the estate.

The law looks at kinship to determine these rights. Without a will, the following consequences might happen:

  • Specific necessities might lose funding after the estate distribution
  • Family members who live far away might have trouble going to court due to the distance
  • Relatives need to go through the deceased’s belongings involved in the probate process
  • Failure to recognize domestic or common-law relationships based on local laws

Additionally, intestate laws might not consider vital factors, such as the special needs of relatives. The process might leave the family in a tough spot, bearing costs that the estate could have settled.

Other effects of dying without a will

Family members are prone to physical and emotional fatigue as they scramble to resolve the deceased’s affairs. Their grief could also result in conflicts while working through the estate and the probate process.

Additionally, the court takes over and enforces intestate laws. They would take charge of the estate and child custody decisions if the deceased left surviving children who are minors. Fortunately, preparing a will and making an estate plan could prevent these complications.

It might not be the sole basis for managing the estate, but it gives surviving relatives a better direction on moving forward after losing someone they love.