If you do not have a Will when you pass, your state intestacy statutes will come into play. The courts will appoint a personal representative to settle your affairs accordingly. Each state varies greatly in how it divides your estate. Listed below are some highlights to show how each state differs in dividing up your estate in Virginia, Maryland and District of Columbia when you pass away without a Will, or a legally enforceable Will:
Virginia: Your spouse would receive all of your estate if you had no children from another relationship or no children at all. If you have children from a different relationship, your spouse receives 1/3rd of your estate and your children get 2/3rds. If you have no spouse, it all goes down to any descendents equally. If you have no spouse or descendents, the entire estate goes to your parents if living. If your parents are not living, it then will go down to their descendents.
Maryland: If you are married and have minor children, then 50% of your estate goes to your spouse and 50% goes to your children. If you have no minor children, then your spouse gets the first $15,000 of your estate plus 50% and your older children get the remainder 50%. If you have no children, but living parents, your spouse gets $15,000 plus 50% and your parents get the remainder 50%. If you have no spouse or living parents, the estate passes to up to your parents descendents and then grandparents and their descendents.
District of Columbia: Your spouse gets 2/3rds of your estate and your children get 1/3rd. If you have no descendents, your spouse would get 3/4ths of your estate and your parents if living would get 1/4th. If you have no living parents or descendents, your spouse gets 100% of your estate. If you have children from a different relationship then your spouse, the surviving spouse gets 1/2 your estate and the children get 1/2. If you have no spouse, your descendents share equally. Finally, if you have no spouse or descendents, you parents get 100%.
A Will can help you get around these statutes and direct courts on how you want your assets divided, and who you want to be in charge of carrying out your wishes. Please Contact Us to find out how we can help you create a will that fits your state requirements to be legally binding and ensures your estate is divided the way you want it.
Posted in: General Estate Planning Questions