Last will and testament document

What Happens to Your Estate if You Pass Away Without a Will?

January 5, 2021

Many people believe that only the wealthy or the elderly should worry about wills and estate planning. This belief couldn’t be further from the truth. According to’s 2023 Wills and Estate Planning Study, one out of three people said that COVID caused them to see a greater need for an estate plan, but 31% of those who saw a greater need didn’t do anything about it. The pandemic taught people that the world can change overnight and people can lose their lives in an instant. It’s vital to have a plan set to cover your loved ones in case something happens to you. Here are a couple of barriers your loved ones can face if you don’t make a will before you pass away.

It Gets Stuck in Probate

Probate is the legal process in which the court system reviews your will and estate. It ensures that everything checks out, all your debts are paid, and everything is distributed properly. Unfortunately, this process can be long and arduous and could take anywhere from a few months to many years to complete. If you at least leave behind a will, you can shorten the probate process for your heirs. However, with no will, the probate process can take much longer.

It May Not Go to Your Intended Beneficiaries

When you leave money in a bank account or valuable assets, they’ll go to the designated beneficiary you appoint. However, if you don’t specify that in a will, the state may decide who your beneficiary is. Some states automatically make your surviving spouse the main beneficiary. In some cases, the next of kin will automatically be your children. If you don’t leave behind any children or a spouse, the state may end up taking that money. When estate attorneys help you plan a will or a trust, you and your heirs don’t have to worry about this problem. No matter your age, income level, or family situation, you need to understand inheritance laws and how not having a will can affect your loved ones. Be sure to also know the laws in your state since they vary throughout the country. Avoid putting your surviving heirs through the stress of not getting what you want them to have upon your death. Contact your local estate attorneys at Twin Falls Estate Planning, PLLC today to learn about the laws in Idaho and ensure your house, assets, and other valuables don’t float around in probate for years to come.

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