Commonly, many Nevada residents mistakenly believe that they do not need to create an estate plan. However, those individuals also may not know what happens to an estate when no will or other related documents exist. If you find yourself considering the possibility of skipping the estate plan, you may want to find out more information on what could happen to your property when you die intestate, or without a will.
Though intestate probate administration laws vary in specifics from state to state, many of the same general guidelines apply to the process when it comes to distributing assets. Typically, the state considers the surviving family and uses a tier-type system when allocating who should receive what. If the state cannot locate surviving family, the estate will simply go to the state.
Surviving parents and siblings
If you die without an estate plan and do not have a spouse or children, the state will distribute your estate to your surviving parents. In the event that both of your parents have preceded you in death, your assets would then go to any surviving siblings. If one of your parents still lives, he or she and your surviving siblings would receive some of your assets.
In the event that you have children but no spouse, your children would directly inherit your estate. If you had a child who preceded you in death and that child had children of his or her own, your grandchildren from that child would inherit his or her share of your estate.
If you have a spouse at the time of your death, he or she will likely gain ownership of the assets in your estate. However, marital and separate property may come into play during this distribution. If you have no children, your marital property remains with your spouse while separate property may get divided between your spouse, siblings and parents.
If you and your spouse have children, your spouse will obtain the entirety of your estate. In the event that you have children from a previous relationship, your current spouse could obtain up to 50 percent of the estate while the rest divides between your other children.
Though the idea of your estate passing directly to any of these individuals may seem fine to you, you may wish to remember that the possibility does exist for complications that could result in your surviving family facing probate issues. Additionally, you may also want to consider that property that has certain value to you could end up in the hands of a less-than-desirable individual.
If you feel on the fence about estate planning, you may want to go over your estate, assess how you feel about the distribution of your assets and determine whether you may wish to create an estate plan to address your legacy and help your family through the estate administration process.