Tag Archives: dying intestate

Everyone needs a will. Do you have one?

It is critically important for everyone to have a will.  If you don’t have one, your wishes may not be carried out.  Why? 

First of all,  every state has laws covering what is called “dying intestate” (without a will).  These rules strictly dictate who will receive what from your estate. 

Let’s look at one example.  You have two children.  The first child worked his way through college and didn’t take any money from you.  You paid all of the fees associated with the second child getting a degree and consider that money an advance on that child’s future inheritance.  So you would like the first child to receive 75% of your assets and the second to get only 25%.  However, when you die, you do not have a will which specifies this.  According to the laws in many states, both of your children will share equally in your estate.

You may feel sentimental about some of your possessions.  Maybe you have a few special pieces of jewelry and know to which member of your family you wish to give each one.  Without a will, your wishes don’t count.

A will is also a good place to specify what you want your family to do with your body after you die.  Perhaps you wish to be buried; however, they may not know and this and may cremate your body instead.

This week, I read two interesting blogs which reminded me of  how important a subject this is.  Both, interestingly enough, come from outside of the United States. 

 The first comes from Ghana and begins by talking about the late Colonel Momar Khadafi  You may not care what Khadafi’s wishes were or that they were not carried out despite the fact that he had a will.  However, later the blog talks about the writer’s father and how he set the precedent for everyone in his village to have a will. 

The second was written by a woman in British Columbia and is a sad story about a man who told his former doctor, and later friend, about his wishes.  However, he didn’t write them in a formal will.  When he died, the doctor contacted the coroner to try to ensure that the wishes were carried out.  Instead, the man’s body was turned over to the Public Guardian and Trustee (a government group) and his wishes were disregarded.

Consider getting your will written today.  Not only will it make it easier for your wishes to be carried out but will remove an extra burden from your family members when you die.

 For more information about this subject and other related topics check out our book “Die Smart, 11 Mistakes That Cost Your Family Money When You Die”.

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Dying Intestate Ohio

Married with no children
If there are no children or lineal descendants, the entire estate goes to the spouse.
Married with child or children
If there is a spouse and one child or its lineal descendants surviving, the spouse get the first $60,000 if he or she is the natural or adoptive parent of the child, or the first $20,000 if he or she is not the natural or adoptive parent. In addition, the spouse gets one half of the balance of the estate. The remainder goes to the child or lineal descendants. If there is more than one child or their lineal descendants surviving, and if the spouse is the natural or adoptive parent of at least one of the children, he or she receives the first $60,000 plus one third of the balance of the estate. If the spouse is not the natural or adoptive parent of any of the children, the amount is $20,000 plus one third of the balance of the estate. In both cases, the remainder of the estate goes to the children or the lineal descendants of any deceased child.
Order of estate distribution if no spouse survives or person is single:
1) children or their lineal descendants
2) parents of the deceased
3) siblings or their lineal descendants
4) grandparents
5) lineal descendants of the deceased grandparents (i.e. aunts, uncles, cousins)
6) other next of kin
7) stepchildren or their lineal descendants
No surviving relatives
The estate goes to the state of Ohio
State link
http://tinyurl.com/cmduzm

Dying Intestate Illinois

Married with no children
The entire estate goes to the surviving spouse.
Married with child or children
One half of the entire estate goes to the spouse and the other half to the decedent’s descendants.
No spouse survives but there are other relatives
The estate will be distributed in this order of priority:

1) decedent’s descendants

2) parent, brother, sister or descendant of the decedent or of brother or sister

3) grandparent or descendant of a grandparent – one half of the estate to the decedent’s maternal grandparents or their descendants and the other half to the decedent’s paternal grandparents or their descendants

4) great grandparents or their descendants – one half of the estate to the decedent’s paternal side and the other half to the decedent’s maternal side

5) the nearest kin of the decedent

Single person/ widow or widower
The estate will be distributed in the order shown below:
Order of estate distribution if decedent not married
The estate will be distributed in this order of priority:

1) decedent’s descendants

2) parent, brother, sister or descendant of the decedent or of brother or sister

3) grandparent or descendant of a grandparent – one half of the estate to the decedent’s maternal grandparents or their descendants and the other half to the decedent’s paternal grandparents or their descendants

4) great grandparents or their descendants – one half of the estate to the decedent’s paternal side and the other half to the decedent’s maternal side

5) the nearest kin of the decedent

No surviving relatives
The real estate reverts to the county in which it is located; all other personal property becomes the property of the county in which the decedent was a resident or becomes the property of the state of Illinois and should be delivered to the State Treasurer.
State link
http://tinyurl.com/cy8cjy

Plan For Death

"Just a little bit of planning made my live so much better."

"Just a little bit of planning made my life so much better."

FACE THE FACTS!

Dying is not just an emotional event in our life, it is a major financial event as well.  Consider the following possible financial consequences of your death:

  • The paperwork and legal procedures required to settle your estate can cost your family four to eight percent of your net worth.
  • If probate is required, your family’s inheritance can be delayed for months, and in some cases, several years.  During the probate process, the courts decide when your family can sell your personal residence.  Even though your children can’t afford to pay the mortgage.
  • Contract law may override the instructions in your Will or Living Trust
  • Giving your share of your estate directly to your spouse may cost your family hundreds of thousands of dollars.
  • If you or your surviving spouse die without a will, most state intestate laws do not provide for stepchildren.
  • Naming a minor child as a beneficiary can subject the supervision of their money to the probate court.  For a fee.
  • Giving money directly to a minor child with special needs can make the child ineligible for government benefits.
  • Your business may go out of business because no one know how to access digital records.
  • The beneficiary choice of per capita or per stirpes may accidentally disinherit a grandchild
  • Your choice of a beneficiary for your 401(k) or IRA retirement accounts can dramatically change the after death tax deferred value of these accounts.
  • If you don’t have long term care insurance, you must use your assets to pay for long term care.  There may be no assets when you die.
  • Life insurance proceeds may be part of your taxable estate.  If your estate is subject to the federal estate tax, almost half of the life insurance proceeds may be needed to pay the estate tax on the insurance proceeds.

ESTATE PLANNING

When someone dies, a series of laws and rules determine who has the legal authority to manage the decedent’s financial affairs.

These rules and documents also determine your beneficiaries and the cost, time and effort it will take to settle your estate when you die.  Planning now will save your family money later.

These resources are useful when making plans to keep your money when you die: