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What does intestate mean?

On Behalf of | Apr 30, 2023 | Estate Planning

When a person dies without creating a will, the state calls that dying intestate. It is essential to understand what this means for you specifically.

Not having a will has many consequences and will greatly impact the administration of your estate.

Who handles the estate

Since you had no will, the probate court will choose the person to act as your estate administrator. This person has quite a lot of responsibility, which is why you should have a will and choose this person yourself. The administrator takes over the handling of everything you own and will manage it until it goes to your heirs.

How property distribution works

Another aspect that dying intestate impacts is the distribution of your assets. State law determines the inheritance rights of your family. Generally, if you have a spouse, he or she will come first in line to receive assets. If you have children, they also are at the top for receiving assets from your estate. If you do not have a spouse or children, then your next of kin will receive your assets. The next of kin is usually your parents or siblings. The closer the relationship to you, the higher up they are in the next of kin line.

Not having a will takes all decisions out of your hands. Even if you told people what you wanted to happen, there is nothing legally holding them to honor those decisions. The state takes control and will handle your estate according to the law.