Last Updated: June 12, 2024

What happens if you die without a will?

Planning for the future is crucial, yet procrastination is easy. Many people delay creating a will, believing that it will be difficult. The consequences of passing away without a will can be profound and stressful for your loved ones. At Stone River Law, we ensure your wishes are honored and…

Planning for the future is crucial, yet procrastination is easy. Many people delay creating a will, believing that it will be difficult. The consequences of passing away without a will can be profound and stressful for your loved ones. At Stone River Law, we ensure your wishes are honored and your family is protected. Discover the importance of having a will and how our estate planning team can help you secure peace of mind.

Why You Need a Will in Utah

A will is more than just a legal document—it’s a powerful tool to protect your legacy and ensure your loved ones are taken care of according to your wishes. Without a will, Utah’s intestate succession statutes determine how to distribute your assets, which may not align with your intentions.

Avoid Intestate Succession

When someone dies without a will, they are considered to have died “intestate.” In Utah, intestate succession laws dictate how to distribute your assets, prioritizing close family members. However, this process can be complex and might not reflect your personal desires.

  • Spouse Only: If you leave behind a surviving spouse but no children, your spouse inherits all of your assets.
  • Spouse and Children: If you have both a surviving spouse and children — and if your spouse is also the parent of all of your children, then your spouse inherits all of your assets. However, if you have children from someone other than your current spouse, your assets are divided between your spouse and your children. The exact division is determined by statute.
  • Children Only: Without a surviving spouse, your children inherit your entire estate equally. This includes biological children, legally adopted children and descendants of predeceased children.
  • Parents: If you have no surviving spouse or children, your parents inherit your estate. They share equally if both are alive, or the entire estate goes to the surviving parent.
  • Siblings: Without immediate family, your siblings inherit your estate. If a sibling has predeceased you, their share passes to their children.
  • Extended Family: In the absence of immediate family members, more distant relatives like nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts, and uncles will inherit.

Consequences of Dying Without a Will

Dying without a will can create significant challenges and complications for your family and loved ones:

  • Delays in Asset Distribution: The probate process can be prolonged, delaying the distribution of your assets to your loved ones.
  • Higher Costs: Appointing an administrator to handle your estate results in additional legal fees and administrative costs.
  • Unintended Beneficiaries: Intestate succession laws may not reflect your personal wishes, leading to assets being distributed to relatives you did not intend to benefit.
  • Family Disputes: Without clear instructions, family members might disagree over asset distribution, potentially leading to conflicts and legal battles.
  • Guardianship Issues: If you have minor children and no will, the court decides who becomes their guardian, which might not align with your preferences.

How Stone River Law Can Help

Creating a will is an essential step in ensuring your wishes are honored and your loved ones are taken care of. At Stone River Law, our estate planning team helps you craft a comprehensive plan that suits your unique needs.

  • Personalized Consultation
  • Will Drafting
  • Trusts and Estate Planning
  • Probate Assistance
  • Ongoing Support

Secure Your Legacy with Stone River Law

Don’t leave your loved ones with uncertainty and potential conflict. Contact Stone River Law today to schedule a consultation with our estate planning team. Let us help you create a will and a comprehensive estate plan that provides peace of mind for you and your family.

 

 

Originally Published: June 12, 2024

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