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What Happens If I Die Without A Will?

What Happens If I Die Without A Will?

Many people believe that they have plenty of time to wait until they need to create a will. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Accidents happen to people of all ages, and many people are not prepared for this possibility. It can be difficult to think about and plan for life after you are gone, but it is necessary. If you pass away without a legal will in place, your family could run into extra difficulties when handling your estate. Let’s go over why it is so important to write a will and what happens if you don’t have one at the time of your death.

What is a Will?

Many people have a general idea of what a will is. In your will, you detail instructions for how you want your property and assets to be distributed after your death. You also include additional information, such as assigning the executor of your will and naming a guardian for your minor children.

What Happens If You Don’t Have A Will?

If you do not have a valid will at the time of your death, your assets will be divided based on state intestacy laws. How your assets are distributed will depend on your surviving family members at the time.

  • If you have a spouse and no children, your spouse will inherit 100% of your estate.
  • If you have children but no spouse, your children will inherit 100% of your estate.
  • If you have both a spouse and children, your spouse will inherit 100% of your estate.
  • If you have a spouse and children who are not shared between you and your spouse, your estate will be split.

If you want any property to go to other family members or friends, this would not happen under Oregon intestacy laws. You would need to include them as beneficiaries in a formal will.

Other Benefits of A Will

Not only does a will give you the ability to make personal decisions about the distribution of your estate, but there are other benefits as well. If you have a will in place, it will make it easier for your family to get the inheritance you have left for them.

  • Assets can be transferred more quickly;
  • Because money can be transferred quickly, it can provide financial stability for your family during their period of grief;
  • You will likely save money; and,
  • Having a will can prevent disputes between family members.

Oregon Estate Planning Lawyers

Baxter Harder, LLC is here for all of your estate planning needs. If you have questions about how to begin the estate planning process, contact us today. It is never too soon to start an estate plan, and you can make modifications throughout your life. Begin working on your will today with our Bend attorneys.