Every state has statutes and laws to create a Will if someone passes away without creating a Will themselves. Those laws are called intestacy laws, and you can be said to have died “intestate” if you have no Will.
There are misconceptions about what happens if you die without a Will. Many people think if they pass away, their spouse is automatically going to get everything, so they don’t need a Will. If you have a spouse and children, or either spouse has children from another relationship, and you pass away without a Will, everything does not go directly to your spouse, but a will be divided between your spouse and kids.
Without a Will in place, you could be leaving your spouse in trouble and impoverished. This has happened, where a surviving spouse wants to probate an intestate estate, only to find out, they’d be sharing what they thought was theirs alone. Many times, the children will disclaim or waive their rights to the inheritance so that the surviving spouse can inherit the estate, but sadly, that isn’t always the case. People can become crazy when money is involved, especially if they are desperate people, and children can assert their rights under the intestacy laws and claim their stake, even if it leaves mom or dad bad off. Sadly, if it happens, nothing can be done about it.
Another good reason why it’s essential to have a Will and the wrong side of not having one has to do with the probate process. If there’s no Will, the probate process can be much longer, more expensive, and there can be lots involved when it comes to probate filing. You’ll spend a lot more time dealing with the court. A Will helps you avoid this because a Will sets out what is going to happen and doesn’t leave any guesswork for the court or your beneficiaries to deal with. A Will prevents intestacy so your family doesn’t get stuck with going by intestacy laws that may or may not do what you want. As we know, those laws may or may not leave your assets in the manner you wanted them to be issued.