Having a properly executed will can give you peace of mind in knowing that your assets will pass down to the people you love according to your wishes when you die. This estate planning document specifies how you wish to have your estate preserved, managed and distributed upon your death.
Dying without a will in place, also known as dying intestate, can result in significant consequences for your loved ones when it comes to the distribution of your estate. Here is a brief overview of what will happen if you die without a will in Virginia.
Dying intestate if you are single
If you die intestate while single but with children, your entire estate will be equally distributed to your kids. If any of your children have since passed on, and they had children of their own, then their share will pass on to their children (your grandkids).
If you have no children, however, your parents will inherit your estate. And if both parents are dead, your estate will be equally distributed to your siblings, aunties and uncles, cousins and grandparents.
Dying intestate if you are married
If you are married at the time of your death, the following factors will impact your estate’s distribution:
- Asset allocation at the time of your death as pertain to Virginia marital property laws
- Whether you are survived by any children and if they are your biological children or not
- The duration of the marriage.
Generally, if you are survived by a spouse and children from another relationship, your current spouse will inherit up to 50 percent of your augmented estate. The remaining 50 percent will go to your children from the previous relationship.
Safeguarding your interests
If you die intestate, you will leave the distribution of your estate up to Virginia intestate laws. Sometimes, this approach might go against your wishes. Additionally, this might cost more money and prolong the probate process. Making the effort to properly execute a will is, therefore, well worth your time.