If a person passes away without a Will, what happens to their property? Some assume the surviving spouse gets it all. Some assume their children are assured a share. And, some even worry that the State of Idaho will receive it.
The good news.
The State of Idaho will probably not receive any of your property if you were to pass away without a Will. If you have any living relatives, even very distant or remote relatives, your property will pass to them before it does the State.
The bad news.
If you pass away in Idaho without a Will or Trust, the State essentially provides a Will for you. We briefly covered this topic in Your Estate Planning Options. If you live in Boise, Meridian, Eagle, or anywhere else in Idaho, the Idaho Laws of Intestate Succession determine who will receive your property. One potential beneficiary of your property the State of Idaho will never consider is a charity.
How do the laws of Intestate Succession work?
If you are not married and do not have children, your property will go to your parents equally, regardless of their marital status. If you are married, but do not have children, your surviving spouse and your parents will share your property. If you are married with children, your surviving spouse and your children will share the property. This is a simplistic overview, but it gives you an idea of what will happen to your property if you decide not to plan. The most difficult aspect of Intestate Succession is that it does not take your wishes or desires into account, nor your personal relationships with your relatives.
Two things the law does not dictate are who will serve as (1) the Executor of your estate or (2) the Guardian of your minor children. Any person who wants to fulfill either of these roles can ask to be appointed to those positions after you have passed away. It will be up to the probate court to determine who it thinks will be best fit to carry out each role.
If you have people you want to fulfill these positions, or equally important, people you absolutely do not want to fulfill these positions, you need to create a Will or a Trust with an attorney to ensure that it has been properly signed, witnessed, and notarized.
Schedule a conversation with Justin Jeppesen to take the first step towards creating your complete estate plan! With our Free Initial Consultation we help our clients explore their own situations and plan for their futures. If you have more questions, we'd love to help! Contact Jeppesen Law now: (208) 477-1785.