McCoy Fatula, APCMcCoy
Located in Roseville, CA

What 'intestate' means and why it isn't necessarily good

A common refrain when it comes to estate planning is that everyone needs to plan early in their life. Even if you are in your early 20s, you should still be considering and planning for what happens to your assets and worldly possessions should a terrible accident or untimely death were to occur. There is no such thing as "planning too early" when it comes to estate plans.

Of course, a central figure in your estate plan will be your will. A will is absolutely vital to any estate plan -- and yet, some people don't create one. As a result, when they pass away without a will, their legal status is considered "intestate," which simply means to die without a will. When someone is intestate, the process will automatically default to state laws which will dictate how their estate is handled.

Being intestate is inherently a bad thing, but it does rob you (and your legacy) of passing on your assets and worldly possessions to the people that you want (and in the manner and quantity that you want). 

It is also important to consider that if you die without a will, your status when you died will have a tremendous impact on how the intestate process works out. You could be single; married; with or without children; you could be with a partner but unmarried; and some of these factors interact with one another. Depending on your particular situation, your intestate case will be handled a little bit differently.

Source: FindLaw, "What Happens If You Die Without a Will?," Accessed March 1, 2016

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