Failing to Plan
If you die without a Will or Trust Agreement, the State will decide what happens to your Estate. The way your Estate is divided depends on a variety of items such as the State where you live, your marital status, whether you have children or not, and other factors.
For example, in New York State if you die without a Will or Living Trust and you are survived by a spouse and children, your spouse would receive $50,000 and 1/2 of the estate, your children would receive the remaining half. It does not take in to consideration that your children may be minors.
Married With Children
In this case, most states award one-third to one-half of the estate to the surviving spouse. The rest goes to the child or is split among the children regardless of their age.
In NY the surviving spouse will receive the first $50,000 and one half of the remainder. The rest goes to the child or is split among the children regardless of their age.
Married With No Children
If the couple doesn't have children about one-third to one-half of the estate is given to the surviving spouse. The rest generally goes to the parents of the deceased. If the parents are dead, brothers and sisters (half-siblings are treated the same as full-blood siblings) would receive their share.
In NY if a couple does not have children the surviving spouse receives everything.
Single with Children
When a single person who has children dies without a will, the law uniformly states that it all goes to the children.
Single with No Children
If the person's parents are still living they would receive the property. Otherwise, it would be divided among siblings, if there are any.
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