What is intestacy?

On Behalf of | May 12, 2023 | Estate Planning

When you die, you need to have some way to allow those left behind to take legal possession of your assets. Most people will create a will or estate plan to handle this task.

However, it is also common for people not to plan ahead. If you die before you create a will or other plans for your assets, the state considers you died intestate. In this case, you lose all ability to dictate what happens with your estate, and state intestacy laws come into effect.

Law of intestacy explained

The law of intestacy follows the common distribution method. Most people will leave their assets to immediate family, so the law does this as well. It begins with your spouse and children. They receive your assets first.

But if you do not have a spouse and children, then the next of kin order becomes valid. It will go to your closest surviving relatives, such as your parents, siblings, nieces and nephews.

Issues with dying intestate

If you die without a will it can greatly complicate things for those left behind. For example, if you have a significant other but you never married that person, then he or she has no rights under the law of intestacy because there is no legal relationship. So, your partner may end up with nothing even though your intentions may have been to leave that person everything.

In addition, it opens the doors for a lot of infighting within your family. It can create legal battles and hard feelings that could damage your family for years to come.

Dying intestate is not ideal for anyone. It is a far better idea to get your affairs in order now by creating a will.