Dying Without an Estate Plan
Many of the individuals and couples that have come in to see us wonder if they really need an estate plan. Dying without an estate plan essentially means that you have died without a will or a trust. If this is the case, then what happens with your property depends on which of your family members survive you. This area of law can get complicated, but here’s a few basic examples:
- If your spouse survives you, but you don’t have minor children, all of your estate will go to your spouse.
- If your spouse survives you, and you have children together, then your entire estate will go to your spouse.
- If your spouse survives you, and you have children from another relationship or marriage, then your spouse gets a portion of your estate and your children get a portion of your estate.
Utah law also provides, in some circumstances, for a portion of your estate to go to siblings, parents, etc. Here at Red Law of Ogden, Utah, we are happy to talk through all of your different options so you are empowered to make decisions that are right for you.
Other Risks of Dying Without an Estate Plan
There are a number of consequences that can occur if you die without a will or a trust in place. Here are a few examples:
- Some of your property may be inherited by individuals you did not intend.
- Unnecessary costs arise, such as attorney fees, administration expenses, and taxes.
- Some of your property may get tied up by the probate court, thus temporarily preventing it from being accessed by your heirs.
- Some of your property may be transferred in an unsuitable form, such that the intended beneficiaries are unable or incapable of handling the property they’ve received.
- Family members dispute over who gets certain items of property.
- If you have minor children, who becomes the children’s guardian may be someone other than who you desired.
- Your beneficiaries receive complete and total access to all of your estate. This sudden influx in wealth can encourage bad financial decisions on the part of beneficiaries, especially minor children.