If you die without a valid Will, state law will determine who receives your property. This process is known as dying intestate, and the results can be far from what you would have wanted. In many cases, distant relatives or family members who you do not have a close relationship with may benefit from your death.
How is property distributed in inheritance?
In addition, your estate will be subject to a costly and time consuming probate process that opens the door for creditors to make claims against the estate. This can also expose details of your family and finances to public inspection. You can avoid these problems and provide more peace of mind to your loved ones by creating a will.
The purpose of a will is to Major changes to how estates are distributed without a Will, as well as designate guardians for your minor children. In addition, a will can reduce or eliminate estate taxes, which are imposed by the federal government and some states, and can make it easier for your heirs to access and take possession of inherited assets.
In most states, if you are married, your surviving spouse will inherit all of your separate probate property (assets not governed by community property laws). If you have children from prior relationships, these heirs will receive an equal share of your separate assets unless you specifically stated otherwise in your Will. This is not the case in every state, and these rules are constantly changing.