Tag Archives: 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 descendants2) 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 descendants2) 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

Dying Without a Will

WHAT IF YOU DON’T HAVE A WILL OR A LIVING TRUST?

If you die without having created a will or a trust, you are considered to have died intestate.  In this situation, the state has a created a default will for you.  The default will determines who the state appoints to manage your affairs after you die and the default will determines who will inherit your probate assets.

Upon your death the following will occur if you die without a will:

  • A family member will inventory the assets of the deceased and list what the decedent owned and what the decedent owes.
  • The inventory will include a list of all property with a title.  Based upon the method of title, the person taking the inventory will place the assets in either the automatic inheritance bucket, the trust bucket, or the probate bucket.
    • Property with automatic inheritance rights will automatically be transferred to the named beneficiaries.
    • Trust assets will be managed by the designated successor trustee.
    • The remaining probate property will be distributed according to the applicable state law of intestacy.  These are laws which describe who inherits your probate property when you fail to leave a will.
      • Under most state laws of intestacy, the probate assets are divided among a surviving spouse and children of the decedent.  However, if there is no surviving spouse and no surviving children, then the intestate assets are distributed to next of kin.  In most states, stepchildren have no right to inherit.  If there are no surviving relatives, the entire probate estate may go to the state.
  • The inventory will also include a list of all property without a title, i.e., your jewelry, your furniture, cash, art, and your digital assets.  The estate representative will determine how to distribute the personal property to your beneficiaries.
  • An estate representative, sometimes called an administrator or a personal representative, will be appointed by the court to administer your intestate probate estate.  Most state laws contain a preference that a surviving spouse, and then surviving children, be appointed to serve as the administrator of the intestate estate.
  • The estate representative will decide if probate is required and whether the estate needs to follow procedures for a small estate, a surviving spouse, or a normal probate process.
  • The court appointed estate representative has the same responsibility as someone you appoint as an executor in your will or the successor trustee in your living trust, except that they are not guided by a will or a trust; their actions are governed by state laws only.  ibutton: State Intestate Succession Statutes