Several Americans fail to create a will or secure a clear one due to a variety of reasons. Some Americans believe that although death is inevitable, they don’t feel that creating a will should be their priority, especially when they feel healthy.
Another reason is that they think enlisting the service of probate attorneys who can help them with their estate needs is costly. In fact, the New York Post revealed that about half of married couples in the country don’t have a will, while 41% of people aged between 55 and 64 have no written wills.
Distributing the Properties of an Intestate
A person who dies without last will and testament enters into intestacy. An intestate is a person who dies without a will, and whose property has a value greater than the sum of all his debts, including his funeral service.
Intestacy in the U.S. usually follows this series of succession:
- Surviving spouse
- Brothers, sisters, and their lineal consanguinity/direct blood relation
- Grandparents, and their lineal consanguinity/direct blood relation
- Next of kin (nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins)
- Escheat, or the property will revert to the state, if no heirs will inherit
Inheritance of Half-Siblings and Non-Marital Children
Under the law, half-siblings can inherit in the same manner as full siblings. All states in the U.S. also consider it illegal to ban half-siblings and non-marital children from inheriting. One way to settle intestacy disputes arising from half-blood relationship is by proving blood relationship.
According to DNAPlus, DNA test services are proven to determine blood relationship, and can help a lot in solving inheritance issues.
By not being wise enough to create a will, you are risking the financial future of your loved ones. By drafting a clear will, you are ensuring that your estate will be carefully managed, and your assets will be received by those you have personally chosen.