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Elder Planning Isn't Just For The Elderly

What is intestacy and how do I avoid it?

On Behalf of | Feb 7, 2020 | Estate Planning

Planning for the future is important, no matter your age. While it may not be particularly enjoyable to think about what might happen after you or a loved one passes away, it’s an inevitable part of life that we all will face eventually.

Preparing for that future can make the transition easier. When it comes to your estate, it’s important that you have a plan in place not only to ensure your wishes are carried out but also to avoid the issue of intestacy.

What is intestacy or an intestate?

If you die without a will, your estate falls under a condition called intestacy. Intestacy laws are also applicable if part of an estate is excluded from the will, meaning that part of the estate is in intestate.

When an estate is intestate, matters related to property distribution are in the hands of the court. Courts follow state and federal laws to determine descent and distribution. In New York, for example, prioritize the following surviving parties:

  1. Surviving spouse
  2. Children
  3. Parents
  4. Other relatives

Deciding who should receive your estate after your death in the case of intestacy is a big decision. And if you don’t make this decision yourself by creating a will, you leave the process up to the courts who do not know you.

What can I do?

You can avoid the complications of intestacy by having a plan in place for after you pass. When considering estate planning, here are a couple things you can work on sooner, rather than later:

  1. Make a will. Even if you believe you’re too young to have a will, it’s critical to have one in place as it can protect your wishes and your loved ones. If you already have a will, make sure you update it regularly, such as after major life events like the birth of a child or the death of a parent. The best way to prevent intestacy is to have a will prepared and updated.
  2. Consult with an attorney. The estate planning and will-making processes can be overwhelming. An experienced attorney can assist you in all the steps so that you feel at ease about your future and the future of your loved ones.

Don’t wait too long to begin preparing for the future. Consider your estate and how you want to distribute your assets upon your death so everything goes as you wish.