What happens if you die with no Will? It depends on what state of the union you die in. For example, in Virginia, who inherits depends on your family situation. Here are the most typical situations and who gets what: (i) If you have had one or more children with your current spouse only, then your spouse will inherit 100% of your estate; (ii) if you have had no children (or none survived you), then 100% goes to your spouse; and (iii) If you have had children in your current marriage and during previous marriage(s), 2/3'will be inherited by all of your children and 1/3rd by your current spouse.
Confused yet? That’s what The (Huntington, WV) Herald-Dispatch asks us in its recent article titled “Planning ahead: What happens if you don't have a will.”
If you don’t have a surviving spouse, your estate will be divided among your descendants at each generation (children, grandchildren, or great-grandchildren). If you don’t have any descendants, it will be inherited in this order:
3) Nearest relatives in both mother’s and father’s bloodline, equally
4) The Commonwealth of Virginia
That's the basic structure of intestacy, which means “without a will.” In intestacy, there are no special provisions to cover unique situations, no gifts to favorite non-profit organizations, and no special strategies to lower estate taxes. Intestacy can be the most expensive version of estate "planning."
You can learn more about this topic as well as other strategies on our website under the tab entitled: estate planning in Virginia. Be sure you also sign up for our complimentary e-newsletter so that you may be informed of all the latest issues that could affect you, your loved ones and your estate planning. However, proper estate planning is not a do-it-yourself project. Why not call us for a complimentary consultation at 757-259-0707.
Reference: The (Huntington, WV) Herald-Dispatch (June 05, 2015) “Planning ahead: What happens if you don't have a will”