While there's no clear way to predict exactly how property, bank accounts, and other assets will be divided by the state, there are a few common outcomes:
- The estate of single persons without children goes to their parents, or, if their parents are no longer alive, to the persons' siblings or next-of-kin.
- The children of single persons get the entirety of the estate.
- Spouses tend to get one half to a third of the estate, and the rest is divided among the children (if there are any), or given to the deceased's parents (or next-of-kin).
- In some states, domestic partners have the same rights as married couples concerning inheritance and control over funeral plans and disposal of remains.
Without a last will, your loved ones cannot set out details for how they want to be memorialized and have their remains dealt with, nor can they leave bequests to charities. As uncomfortable as it is to bring up this topic, you should make sure that your loved ones create and maintain wills, so that you can respect their wishes even when they're gone. It doesn't take long to make a last will online with Rocket Lawyer, so don't wait to give yourself and your loved one peace of mind.
This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.