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What happens when someone dies without a will?

| Jul 14, 2021 | Estate Planning

If you are young, healthy and have relatively few assets, the last thing you may be thinking of is creating an estate plan. People often think they do not need one until they are older or sick.

However, not having a will can prove to be a serious mistake that leaves you and your loved ones vulnerable to some unfortunate consequences.

Who makes decisions?

You may not always be capable of expressing your wishes and making choices about financial, medical or legal matters.

In these scenarios, planning documents like powers of attorney and living wills can be crucial. They ensure someone of your choosing makes decisions on your behalf and make your wishes clear. When you appoint people to these roles, everyone can better understand what to do in difficult situations.

What happens to the property?

Dying without a will means dying intestate. When this happens, the courts decide what happens to your property, debts and assets. They follow state succession laws, which dictate how property passes to heirs. If you do not have a will, you have no control over the distribution of your estate.

Who takes care of you and your loved ones?

You may need someone to take care of you as you get older. Whether this happens at home, with your family or at a nursing home can depend on whether you have long-term care plans in place. 

If you have pets or children, someone will also need to take care of them if you cannot do so yourself. If you do not assign guardians or make arrangements for them, there can be considerable confusion and conflict over who will take care of them.

These questions can feel overwhelming. However, leaving them unanswered until it is too late will not make them easier for anyone. Thus, to create an estate plan that gives you and those you love some peace of mind, you can contact the Quinn Law Firm at 814-833-2222 to discuss estate planning solutions.