What Happens if You Don't Have a Last Will and Testament?

It is said that those who pass away without a last will and testament die intestate. In this case, their assets will be managed by a probate court, which will distribute them in accordance with the laws of the state where the property is located. This means that your assets may not end up where you want them to. Joint bank accounts or accounts with a designated payee will usually be transferred automatically. However, if the deceased had any assets or debts, not having a will can have serious consequences for both the estate and the individuals involved.

The only legal way to transfer assets of someone who has died is to have a will legalized. Without this, titled assets such as houses and cars remain in the name of the deceased indefinitely. This means that you won't be able to sell them or keep the records up to date, as you won't have access to the person's signature and consent. As a result, the estate may have ongoing expenses such as property taxes, insurance premiums, and car registrations that won't be paid unless you finance them yourself. If you die without a last will and testament, you give up control to the state in which you lived. The laws of that state will determine who your heirs are and they will also choose the executor of your estate.