Everyone is going to pass away someday, but surprisingly, the majority of adults in the United States do not have a well constructed estate plan in place. There are many reasons for this inaction, and one of them is the assumption that everything will just automatically fall into place if you pass away intestate. (Intestacy is the legal term that describes the condition that exists after someone passes away without an estate plan.)
In reality, the outcome may not be consistent with your wishes if you pass away intestate, even if you would be content if your spouse was to get everything.
There are differences in the intestate succession laws state-by-state, but there are some similarities that you see across-the-board. We practice law in the state of Connecticut. In our state, if you are married and you do not have any surviving descendents or parents still living, your spouse would in fact inherit all of your intestate property.
However, things get a bit more complicated under different circumstances. If you have a surviving spouse and descendents from you and that spouse, your surviving spouse would inherit the first $100,000 of your intestate property. Your spouse would receive half of the rest, and your descendents would receive the other half.
Your surviving spouse would get half of your personal property, and your descendents would split the other half if you had a surviving spouse and children from another person.
If you have a surviving spouse and parents still alive after you pass away, your spouse would not inherit everything. Your surviving spouse would get the first $100,000 of the intestate property, and three fourths of the balance. The remainder would go to your parents.
As you can see from these scenarios that we have laid out, your spouse would not necessarily inherit everything if you were to pass away intestate. Those who make assumptions about matters such as these without knowing all the facts sometimes leave behind difficult situations for their loved ones.
Informed Planning Is Essential
There is really no reason to go through life without an estate plan. When you do nothing to prepare for something that is definitely going to happen, you are certainly doing your family members a disservice.
Many people do not act because they do not know where to begin, and this is understandable in a way, but there is help available to you. Our firm offers free consultations, and we pride ourselves on the personalized attention that we give our clients.
We would be glad to get to know you, become apprised of your estate planning objectives, and ultimately make the appropriate recommendations. If you decide to go forward, you can walk away with a custom crafted estate plan that ideally suits your needs.
To set up an appointment, send us a message through this page: Hartford CT Estate Planning Attorneys.