What If You Die Without a Will?

If you die without a Will the intestacy laws of the state in which you reside will determine your beneficiaries and the person who will be in charge of administering your estate. Each state has its own intestacy statute so what you think may happen in your current state of residence may not be what would happen if you move to another state.

  • If you are married and have children from a prior marriage and die without a Will in Virginia, your surviving spouse will receive one-third (1/3) of your estate and your children from a prior marriage will receive two-thirds (2/3) of your estate.
  • If you are an unmarried couple living together your partner will not be recognized as a beneficiary in the distribution of your estate, or may not be permitted to make medical and/or burial decisions on your behalf.
  • If you are a single adult, your friends and other special relationships will not be legally recognized as beneficiaries of your estate or be permitted to act on your behalf if you become incapacitated without an estate plan.
  • If you are a domestic partner you will need an estate plan to enable your partner to act on your behalf in the event of your incapacity and to inherit your assets at your death.

Without an Estate Plan, your estate may be tied up in probate after your death for a year or longer.

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