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What happens to your estate if you die without a will?

On Behalf of | Oct 15, 2021 | Estate Planning |

Probate is the process of distributing an individual’s estate upon their passing. Most people create estate plans to ensure that their wishes concerning their assets will be honored when they are no longer around to make important decisions. Estate planning also protects a person’s estate from becoming the subject of dispute among family members.

Unfortunately, some people die without having an estate plan in place. When this happens, it is upon the state to determine who gets to inherit the decedent’s property. This is known as managing an intestate estate.

So what is an intestate estate?

A Maryland intestate estate is a probate estate in which the decedent passed on without having a will. Even though the decedent had no will at the time of their passing, their estate will still be distributed to their heirs. However, this has to be done in accordance with Maryland’s intestacy laws. In other words, if you die without a will, the state of Maryland will determine how your assets will be distributed. To get the process on course, someone, usually the decedent’s family, will petition to serve as the Personal Representative for the estate.

Once a Personal Representative has been appointed by the court, they must identify and notify heirs and creditors of the decedent’s estate. Also, the Personal Representative must refer to the state’s intestate laws to determine how the decedent’s property should be distributed to the heirs.

Death is a fact of life. If you have worked hard all your life, chances are you want your assets to go to your loved ones when you die. However, if you die without a will, it will be upon the state of Maryland to decide what happens to your assets. Clearly, this might not match your wishes. Having a will in place will give you peace of mind knowing that your assets will be distributed according to your wishes when you pass on.