What happens if someone dies without a will?

On Behalf of | Jun 14, 2020 | Estate Planning

You might not have a will because you assume you don’t need one. If this is the case, you are not alone. Many people believe that they are too young to create a will or that they have plenty of time to create a will later.

However, almost everyone can benefit from having a will because almost everyone has preferences about what they want to happen after they pass away. A will allows you to document those choices and make sure they are prioritized above the state’s choices.

A will allows personalized options

When someone dies without a will, it is called dying intestate, and when that happens, the state controls where their assets go. Colorado’s intestate succession laws determine how someone’s belongings should be distributed based on a hierarchy of relationships.

This hierarchy is designed so those who are usually closest to the deceased end up with more of that person’s assets. For example, the spouse of the deceased may inherit the entire estate if the deceased did not have any living parents or children.

The problem with intestate succession laws is that they create a cookie-cutter approach for something that usually is very personal. People tend to have complicated relationships with their loved ones, and sometimes the people who the deceased cared the most about, don’t end up with their fair share.

However, someone can prevent this from happening, if they create a valid will. This is because the provisions of a will are prioritized over intestate succession laws. In this way, creating a will is really about embracing your ability to make choices about what should happen after your death.