The Consequences of Dying Intestate
When you die without a will, your debts and assets will be dealt with in accordance with state law. A personal representative will be appointed to oversee your estate, and this person may or may not have your final wishes in mind when settling it in probate court. While your intended beneficiaries may eventually get their inheritance, it could be more difficult for them to do so.
Family Infighting Could Last Months or Years
When you die intestate, there are no clear instructions for a probate judge to take into account when deciding where assets go. Although state law may say that a spouse gets a certain percentage of your money or tangible property, your family may know that you intended to leave money to a special needs child or a charity. Therefore, they may feel obligated to fight on behalf of your legacy, which may result in a prolonged legal battle. As the estate pays legal fees during probate, beneficiaries could receive less even if they win in court.
Future Generations Could Experience Hardship
While your spouse or adult child may be mildly annoyed about not getting assets that were promised to them, future generations could experience negative consequences. For instance, if a will is declared invalid, provisions directing it to fund a trust for a special needs grandchild could be invalidated as well. Failing to put assets in a trust could result in beneficiaries paying higher taxes, which could reduce the amount of money put in a college fund or similar account.
Have an Attorney Review a Will
A probate attorney in Las Vegas may be able to help you review your will or help create it in a manner that adheres to state law. This can reduce the odds that it will be ruled wholly or partially invalid after you pass on.