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What’s at risk if you die without a New Jersey estate plan?

On Behalf of | Dec 12, 2021 | Estate Planning |

When you die, your family will have a lot to handle. Someone will need to disburse your property and settle all of your financial accounts.

If you have competent family members, you may feel like you don’t need to leave behind a specific estate plan because they can manage things on their own. You trust them to be fair in how they manage your assets.

However, if you don’t create at least a will before you die, then the administration of your estate may not go the way you think. What is at risk if you die without a will?

State law determines what happens with your property

With careful estate planning, you control the distribution of your assets after you die. You can leave things for charity or even plan on leaving assets for your grandchildren but not your kids. Without written instructions, your family members won’t have the authority to follow your wishes.

Even if you expressed preferences to family members before you died, they won’t be the ones who decide what happens with your estate. If you die without a will in New Jersey, that’s considered dying “intestate,” and state law dictates who receives assets from your estate.

Spouses and children are the primary beneficiaries of an intestate estate. Parents, siblings and even grandparents can also inherit from someone who dies without a spouse or children. If you don’t have any immediate family members, your assets might eventually become the property of the state of New Jersey. Understanding what happens to your property if you die without an estate plan should incentivize you to finally create one.