Intestate Inheritance Is the Way the State Divides Property
Intestate inheritance does not mean that you will inherit something from someone who lives in another state. Intestate inheritance means that you inherit from a relative who dies without a valid will or a trust and owns property. When someone dies without a will, the state’s default statutory scheme, intestate succession takes over.
Whenever there is an intestate succession, there will also be and intestate inheritance. The state provides for disposition of the intestate decedent’s assets through the court system. The judge will look at the state’s laws and will then appoint an estate administrator and tell him or her how to give out the property. Whenever a person dies without a will and has no relatives to get his intestate inheritance his property “escheats” or goes to the state.
Many people define intestate as someone who is poor and dies unprepared owing others money. This is more realistic than it sounds. This is because those who fail to put a proper estate plan in place are often those who also fail to manage their financial affairs and taxes throughout life. There is also an added bonus that a good estate plan helps folks better manage their finances and save on taxes. Not putting an estate plan in place truly handicaps a person and proper estate planning is the best way to avoid intestate inheritance problems. The lesson is that estate planning is important.
Intestate Inheritance can be a Time Consuming and Costly Problem.
A mother and daughter came into my office a few years ago. Their ex-husband and father had recently passed away. He was not a wealthy man. When he died, he had no other family members he died intestate with no will or trust. All he had was a small life insurance policy and a piece of land and a trailer that he lived in located in another state.
The poor daughter received his intestate inheritance. She had to help with the disposition of her father’s life insurance and property in our state and then go to the neighboring state for the disposition of his trailer. The property located in our state was governed by our state’s intestacy statutes. The other state’s intestacy statutes governed the disposition of the trailer home. She had to hire a different attorney in each state. The mother commented that it was not worth her daughter’s time, but that she felt trapped into taking care of her father’s estate.
It is important that everyone get their estate planning in order. My book, Protecting Your Financial Future, shows you the many benefits. Read this book and avoid leaving an intestate inheritance, and also get the peace of mind that being prepared gives.