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What is the Probate Process if I Die Intestate?

Published on July 5th, 2018

There are a number of horror stories of the problems that are sure to follow when a loved one dies without a will. Unfortunately, despite this, there are a number of people that still fail to put a will in place before passing away. It can be gloomy to consider your own demise, however, determining a plan can help loved ones avoid much headache in the end. There are a number of reasons a person may not have a valid will but is there a difference in the probate process? Any attorney can tell you, putting together an estate plan can prevent complications down the road.

Dying Intestate

Dying intestate is when a person dies without a will in place. It may seem hard to believe, but this is something that occurs often. When a person does not take the time to develop an estate plan, they put their assets in the hands of the state. This may also include retirement accounts and bank accounts that have no named beneficiary attached to them. How the estate is distributed and who stands to benefit from it can vary depending on the state where the person lives. It can be incredibly stressful for grieving family members to endure this when the process is completely out of their hands. They will have no idea of how assets will be divided.

Probate Without a Will

The court will have the power in situations where there is no will. Probate will:

  • Appoint an administrator who will be responsible for paying creditors and expenses that the estate owes. This will include court costs and administrator fees. Examples of administrators include:
  • The spouse of the deceased
  • Children
  • Parents
  • Siblings
  • Identify Your Heirs Through Intestate Succession
  • Distribute Your Assets

Dying without a will in place can pose a huge risk. The courts or the appointed representative may have no idea how you would have liked your assets distributed to heirs. This could make for a contentious situation. Prevent your family from having to endure such a stressful process by taking the time to complete your will.

Reasons Someone May Not Have a Will

The reality is that there is a large population of people who do not have valid wills in place. People will usually put off this daunting process for a number of reasons, but largely because they feel like they still have ample time left on this earth. Common excuses people make include:

  • It’s too complicated and confusing to do on my own.
  • I don’t want to pay for an attorney’s assistance.
  • I don’t have any assets so why do I need a will?
  • I don’t want to discuss my personal information with someone else.
  • I don’t have time.

Essentially it all boils down to one thing, people really don’t get the importance of a valid will. Which, unfortunately, can cause a number of problems down the road.

If you do not have an estate plan in place, contact an estate planning attorney Ridgefield, CT residents trust so that they can help you draw up the necessary paperwork. The last thing you want is to leave grieving loved ones to face probate without a will that outlines your final wishes.



Thank you to our friends and contributors at Sweeney Legal, LLC for their insight into probate and estate planning.

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