What happens if I don’t have a will?

Unintended Beneficiaries

Without a will, Washington law steps in and determines who gets what based loosely on your closest living family members. Those people whom Washington law says should inherit from the estate of someone who dies without a will are called that person’s heirs. It’s a kind of “fallback” for when a deceased person’s wishes are not memorialized in a will. The problem is that, at least in Washington, the fallback scheme of who gets what out a deceased person’s estate rarely lines up with what the deceased person would have wanted.

For example, if you are married and you die without a Last Will and Testament, a large portion of your estate could go to surviving children and, if none, surviving parents, and it does not all go to your surviving spouse. In contact, my experience is that most spouses want all their property to their surviving spouse upon their death, if there is one. It rarely makes sense to give a large chunk of money or property directly to a child or a parent of a deceased person when that person is survived by their spouse.

Contact The Estate Planning Attorney at Vancouver Wills and Trusts, Nick Alexander, at (360) 326-0134 or nick@vancouverwillsandtrusts.com today to schedule a no-cost estate planning consultation!