You may have thought about drawing up a will, but you were busy and the task slipped away from you. Now you wonder what will happen if you die without a will.
A will tells others what you want the court to do with your property after you die. You are never too young to make a will. Even college students should have one. If you do not have a will, your loved ones may face serious consequences.
If you have underage children
If your children are grown, they do have some options. If your children are underage, it will be much harder for them.
If you have underage children and no will, a court would choose a guardian for your children. The court will often choose a close relative. You may not want that person to be a guardian for your children.
You may want a close friend instead who shares your values. You may prefer someone your children have a good relationship with. That is why it is so important to have a will.
If you have property
If you leave behind assets such as bank accounts or property you own with another person, they would not pass through a will. These will pass to the survivors who co-own them with you. Likewise, any life insurance proceeds will go to the intended beneficiaries.
If you have other assets, the court will decide who gets them through intestate succession. If you have a spouse and children, the spouse gets $50,000 and half of the balance. Your children get the other half.