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How the law handles estate distribution without a will

A will can be a complex legal document that stipulates the assets and property that a person wishes to bequeath to beneficiaries when the person passes away. Not all wills are complex, though, and many Boston residents can protect their estates and preserve their testamentary intentions by working with estate planning attorneys to prepare and execute their wills. This post discusses what happens to estates when they go to probate without the direction of wills; readers should note, however, that this post does not provide any legal advice.

Laws of intestate succession

The best way to ensure that one’s estate wishes are fulfilled is to put those intentions in writing through a testamentary document like a will. Many people, though, do not take the time to create estate plans and their property then goes to probate without any testamentary guidance. When this occurs, the laws of intestate succession control the distribution of the individual’s estate.

Intestate succession stipulates how and to whom property passes through a person’s family. If that person was married when they died, their spouse may take anywhere from all of their estate to a portion of it, depending on if the decedent had surviving children or parents when they passed on. Generally, intestate succession passes a decedent’s property up and down the branches of their family tree, seeking to benefit closely related relatives over distantly related kin.

Avoiding control by the laws of intestate succession

Not everyone wants their closely related family members to benefit and take from their end of life estates. Some may want to prevent their children from claiming inheritances, or others ma want to ensure that their estates skip their parents and go to their siblings or cousins instead. The best way to prevent an estate from being distributed through intestate succession is to create a solid and personal estate plan that includes a clear and properly executed will. Estate planning attorneys can support individuals who are ready to take on this important legal process.

 

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