If you don't leave a last will and statement when you die, intestacy laws for the state that you live in will determine the distribution of your property. If you have property in another state, the laws of that other state will determine how that property will be distributed.
Whether you have a spouse and/or children will be the most important factors in determining how your property will be divided. The property can go to spouses, siblings, children, or other relatives.
You're Single and Have No Children
When a single person dies, their whole estate will go to their parents, assuming they're both alive. If only one parent is alive, the property will be divided between them and your siblings and half-siblings.
In case both your parents are dead, the property will be divided equally between your siblings. If you had no siblings, one half of the property will go to the relatives who are on your mother's side and the other half will go to the relatives belonging to your father's side.
You're Single with Children
The estate will be divided up among your children equally. If one of your children passed on but had children, their portion will go to your grandkids.
You're Married without Kids
Your spouse may get all your property if it is all considered community property. Assets considered separate from marital assets will be divided between your spouse, your parents, and your siblings.
You're Married with Children
If your spouse survives you, all your estate will pass on to them if all your children are their children too. If you had children with another partner, a portion of your estate will go to them as well with your spouse able to receive up to half your estate.
Unmarried Couples and Domestic Partners
In states where domestic partnerships are recognized, the domestic partners will have the same rights as a spouse. Since states have different laws in this regard, it's important to check the laws where you reside.
Unmarried couples that have been living together can be left in the cold without a will, because intestacy laws only recognize people who are legal relatives of the deceased.
Write a Will Now
Without a will, those closest to you might be left with nothing if only intestacy laws are considered. Therefore, you should reach out to an estate planning attorney as soon as possible to ensure that your property will be divided according to your wishes in case of your demise. Reach out to a family attorney like those at Kleveland Law for more information.