You don’t have to be a celebrity or a millionaire to put, ‘Make a will!’ a priority on your To Do list. Unfortunately, all too many people fall into the assumption that they don’t need a will because they:
- Don’t own much
- Think their spouse, partner, children or siblings will inherit everything automatically
- Feel there is no way their family will squabble over their estate
- Think they are too young or too healthy to need a will right now
In reality, everyone needs a will. A will protects your estate (large or small) from falling into the wrong hands, protects your family, minimizes heartache and reduces unnecessary legal expenses.
6 Dangers of Dying Intestate
If you die without a will (die intestate) your surviving relatives may be faced with legal nightmares and infighting that can drag on for months or even years.
- All of your belongings (estate) will be divided among your closest surviving relatives according to the laws of intestacy of the state you were living in when you died. There may not be great detail paid to which heirs receive sentimental items, personal property, etc. Any bad blood between you and certain relatives will not be taken into account when the estate is divided.
- If you are married at the time of your death, your entire estate will pass to your spouse. If you are unmarried at the time of your death and have children that survive you, those children, regardless of their age, will receive the assets of the Estate. If your children are not financially responsible, their inheritance may be squandered quickly, or if they are minors a Conservatorship may have to be initiated and a Conservator appointed to manage the child’s assets until he or she reaches the age of majority.
- The estate may be subject to extensive taxes, effectively reducing the amounts that your surviving relatives will receive.
- If you have dependent children, their guardian will be court-appointed. The people chosen to raise your children may not be who you would have chosen for them – even if they are family members.
- If you have stepchildren or foster children that are not legally adopted by you, they may not receive any of your estate.
- Care and re-homing for any pets is left up the personal representative of the Estate. That person may or may not comply with your wishes regarding what happens to your pets at your death.
Depending on your situation when you die (married, single, children, etc.) there are different Colorado laws which apply when you die without a will.
If you do not create a will, you will leave the distribution of your estate and potentially the care of your children in the hands of strangers (a judge) who may or may not make the decisions you would want them to make. It’s worth spending the time and money to get a will created for peace of mind; you can always alter your will in the future if your life situation changes.