What happens if you die without an estate plan?

On Behalf of | May 21, 2021 | Estate Planning, Probate |

Death is a certainty that every Arizona resident must contend with. Though individuals cannot predict when they will pass, they can take control of their end-of-life estates by preparing and executing estate planning documents. Different estate planning documents can provide survivors with information and guidance how decedents wished to have their money, assets, and property managed and distributed after their deaths.

When a person dies without an estate plan, they leave a lot of decisions up to their loved ones and the law. While this may be acceptable for some individuals, many wish to have a say in what happens to their estates and other responsibilities when they are no longer alive. This post will address some of the issues that may arise if a person falls ill and dies without an estate plan. No part of this blog or post should be read as legal advice.

Medical and financial decisions during incapacitation

Though it is not applicable in all end-of-life situations, some individuals become incapacitated or unable to deal with their own medical decisions and financial responsibilities before they die. Estate planning documents like powers of attorney and living wills can provide information to medical care providers, family members, and others as to how incapacitated individuals wanted their care and finances managed. Without these documents in place, courts may assign parties to take on their responsibilities or may default to the decisions of closely related relatives.

Dying without a will

As readers may know, many important decisions and bequests can be made through wills. When a person dies without a will, their assets will pass according to the laws of intestacy in Arizona. Intestacy favors giving property and assets to closely related family members, such as spouses, children, and parents. Though this may seem reasonable to some readers, not all families function positively and wish to have property bequeathed between generations. Through a will a person can direct where their assets and property will go so that the law does not make those decisions for them.

Having an estate plan means having control over the terms of the end of one’s life. It is never too early to start the of state planning process. An estate planning attorney in Arizona can guide their clients through the important steps of executing the right documents to protect their interests and needs.