It happens all the time; a loved one dies and efforts to locate the last will and testament amount to no results. Dealing with a death in the family is always sad, but the lack of a guidance on the deposition of a person's belongs can only add to the burden. Probate presents ways to deal with this situation, known as dying intestate, but nothing compares to making a will. Read on to learn what might happen when no will is ever found.
Appointing A Personal Representative
In the best case scenario, a trusted family member or friend is appointed by the deceased to oversee the will. Also known as an executor, this appointment represents an important responsibility. Unfortunately, the failure to appoint someone because of a missing will might mean that the local probate court will make that decision for the estate of the deceased. If you really care about who takes care of the business of property and debt after your death, then you must appoint a personal representative in your will.
The probate court will evaluate each situation separately since there are few hard and fast rules about who will be best for this job. If there is a surviving spouse, that job often goes to them unless they are infirm or otherwise not up to the task. The oldest child may up next for this task, and so on until an appropriate person is chosen and they accept the position.
To determine who gets what from the deceased estate, a line of beneficiaries is created. This is known as succession, and the surviving spouse is often awarded the entire estate in this instance. With no surviving spouse, the assets of the estate are divided up among any children. If there are no children, it moves on to other blood relatives in a certain order, such as siblings of the deceased and so on.
While on its face the way probate uses succession to parse out the estate seems fair, there are some situations where this method of dealing with an estate falls far short. For example, if you have specific charities you want to name for a disbursement after your death, there is no way of doing that if you leave it up the government to decide. Another issue is when the estate contains a home. If you want the home to go to a specific child or another party, you must use a will. The probate court may order the home sold and its proceeds divided among all parties, which can be hurtful to your loved ones left behind who would like to see it kept in the family.
Wills provide not only guidance on your wishes for inheritances, but for other issues like dealing with bills, pets and burial and funeral instructions. Speak to an estate attorney like David R Webb Attorney right away and see how simple and easy the creation of a will can be.