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What happens if I pass without a Will?

Wills are great tools to ensure that your wishes are carried out after your passing. Wills can direct assets that are titled in your individual name to whomever you wish them to go to. They ensure that your concerns are carried through. But what happens if you don’t take the time now to create a will? What will happen if you don’t create this vital document before your death?

The answer is surprisingly simple, the state will decide where your assets will pass. The state has already created a ‘will’ of sorts for you which is called intestate succession. Under intestate succession, you do not direct where any of your assets will flow but will pass to heirs at law as determined by state statute. 

In North Carolina, if you are a single individual, your assets will flow “down the line” of your family tree. This will mean that your children will receive an equal amount of your assets immediately after your passing. If you do not have any children, then your assets will go to your parents if they are still living. If your parents have passed it will go to your brothers and sisters. The search will continue in this manner until an heir or heirs are found. This is likely why you have heard the story of someone’s great aunt twice removed passing and leaving a fortune to an unknown relative. 

The heirs under intestate succession will receive their property immediately after the probate process. This means that if any of these heirs are irresponsible, they will immediately receive their share of your hard earned funds. Additionally, they have full legal authority to spend those funds in any way that they see fit. 

Another consideration is the financial status of your heirs. If any of your heirs are disabled or receiving government benefits, the direct injection of money from your estate could jeopardize their ability to continue to receive these funds.  A proper plan can ensure that they are protected.

To ensure that your assets are directed, steps need to be taken to guarantee that your wishes are executed. Additionally, a properly executed estate plan is essential to ensure that your assets are protected at your death. At McIntyre Elder Law we take a holistic approach to ensure that your estate fits your unique needs. We would be happy to talk to you about any needs that you might have. 

Contact us today at 888-999-6600 to schedule your free consultation.

Eric Baker J.D
Elder Law Attorney

in Articles, Attorney Advisor Series, Estate Planning by morgan morgan Leave a comment
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