What does it mean to 'die intestate'?

When a person passes without a will, they are said to die intestate. In these instances, their probate assets will be distributed to their heirs in accordance with the state’s intestacy laws. Regrettably, more people die intestate than you might think: only 44% of Americans report having a will.

The way property is distributed under the laws of intestate succession varies depending on marital status and children.

  • Single, no children: parent(s) receive entire estate (if living). Otherwise, divided among siblings.
  • Married, no children: estate goes to the living spouse.
  • Single with children: estate divided equally among children.
  • Married with children: estate goes to the living spouse.

Since intestacy laws only recognize relatives, dying without a will can be detrimental to unmarried couples. Partners cannot inherit the other’s property unless specified by a will.

Watch - Our ‘Probate and Dying Intestate’ educational webinar

The state will take the estate only if the decedent has no heirs. This has nothing to do with having, or not having, a will.

Don’t die intestate! You need an up-to-date will to ensure your estate won't pass to unintended beneficiaries. Seek help from the Estate Planning attorneys of The Presser Law Firm by calling (561) 953-1050 or by filling out the contact form at the top of the page.

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