When your life comes to an end, there’s a good chance that the only thing you’ll leave behind are the belongings you accumulated during your lifetime, as well as any cash or property you may have squirreled away over the years. If you don’t want these items to go to waste, and if you don’t have someone else who deserves to inherit them, then you need to make sure they get used by someone who needs them and will appreciate them. So, if you do not have anyone to leave your assets to, do you need a wills lawyer? Here’s what you should do according to our friends at Carpenter & Lewis PLLC.
If You Have No Beneficiaries…
According to a wills lawyer, if you have no beneficiaries, your estate will be distributed according to the intestacy laws of your state. This means that your assets will be divided among your closest relatives, starting with your spouse and children. If you have no spouse or children, your assets will be given to your parents. If you have no living parents, your assets will be distributed among your siblings. And so on. The bottom line is that if you don’t have anyone to leave your things to, the state will decide who gets them. But it’s never too late to get creative. For example, consider having some friends or family members serve as executors of your estate and keep them in charge of distributing the items when you die. Or give away what you want now while you’re alive — maybe it’ll go farther this way.
Places to Give your Assets to…
- A favorite charity.
- A scholarship fund in your name.
- A friend or family member in need.
- The local library or historical society.
- A community center or religious organization.
- A political party or advocacy group you support.
- An environmental organization working to preserve a cause you care about
Do You Still Need a Will?
A will is a legal document that details how you want your assets distributed after you die. Even if you don’t have any beneficiaries, you may still need a will. Here’s why:
- You might be the last living member of your family and it is important for the legacy of your name to live on
- You might own valuable property in another state where there are no relatives or friends who could inherit the property without a will
- You might not be able to make decisions about life support for yourself and this would affect what happens to your body after death. If you wanted it donated for medical research or buried with respect, for example, this would need to be outlined in your will.
In addition, wills are typically used to give gifts of money or other items. If you wanted some items left out of your estate entirely, but gifted some others to people while alive instead, a will can address those wishes as well. Finally, wills allow you to specify who should care for your children in the event that both parents are deceased when they reach 18 years old or one parent dies before then.
Contact a probate lawyer today for help drafting your will!