Providing Comprehensive, Hands-On Legal Help When You Need It

What happens if I do not leave a will behind?

When it comes to estate planning, many people in Delaware approach it by considering the alternatives. For instance, if you do not have a will in place, is it so bad? What do your heirs stand to lose? What do they potentially stand to gain? There are just some of the questions people may ask themselves before writing a will.

CNN explains that a will allows a person to dictate their own terms about what happens to their assets when they die. Some people genuinely do not care who gets what. For them, the idea of finalizing all those details is probably more trouble than it is worth. Then, there are others who know exactly who should get what specific items. Most people fall somewhere in the middle.

One thing to keep in mind is that inheritance laws differ across state lines. If you own property or businesses in other states, this might complicate the inheritance process. What works in Delaware may not be the case in these states. If someone else owns these properties and business ventures with you, this may also affect your heir’s ability to inherit without sharing assets with an unplanned party.

There is also more to consider beyond just the assets. If you have no will in place and there are dependents, they may risk not getting cared for. Many children end up in foster care because parents did not detail what should happen to them if they die or become incapacitated. Others may have willing guardians, but they cannot afford to care for them without financial help.

Even worse, there are people who may care for these children only because they stand to benefit from your assets. A will or trust may help to protect your dependents from potential financial abuse by limiting how much money they receive at a time and under what conditions. Pay for college or set aside a deposit for their first home. Whatever you have in mind, there might be a way to implement it. Without a will or trust, however, you may have no say in what happens to your assets and dependent loved ones.