You sit in your living room and admire all the things you’ve accumulated over the years. That antique Persian rug you bought with your first bonus check, the 1969 Fender Stratocaster you bought on a whim, those vases your grandmother collected when she traveled through Europe, not to mention her tchotchkes that may or may not have value. You may have accumulated a significant fortune and would like to have some control over where it goes.
You never think about what will happen to those precious items if you suddenly pass away and never got around to creating a will. Not to mention those gold coins you have in a safe deposit box. What happens to all your assets when you die without a will?
Well, if you die without one, you are said to have died intestate. What this means is that after you die your estate is doled out to your kin in measured percentages according to the law of descent and distribution as specified under the Estates Powers and Trust Law in New York. As a consequence your estate may not be distributed the way you want. A long lost relative, a spouse whom you are in the process of divorcing, or even a child whom you have no contact with could wind up with everything you cherish. The people whom you think deserve your belongings will wind up with nothing, especially if they are not a blood relative or a spouse. So, while it is nice to enjoy the stuff you have accumulated through life, it’s also important to plan for your death while you still can.
Stay tuned for more detailed information on what happens to your belongings when you no longer have a say as to who should inherit your assets.