If a married person dies without an estate plan, by law most of his or her property will go to a surviving spouse or any living children. However, single people do not have spouses and many do not have children.
As reported in the Wall Street Journal, in an article titled "Estate-Planning Essentials for Single People," when single people pass away without an estate plan their property often goes to people to whom they would not have intended it to go to.
The laws of intestate succession dictate that a single person's estate will go to his or her parents if they are still alive. If the parents are not alive, then the estate will be divided between any living siblings. If no siblings are alive, then more distant relatives will receive the estate.
This may not be how many single people would wish for their estates to be distributed. In fact, singles might have long-time partners or friends to whom they would prefer their estates to pass.
Without an estate plan that will not happen.
If you are not married and do not have kids, do not make the mistake of thinking you do not need an estate plan. You do.
If you want to have a say in where your property goes after you pass away, contact an experienced estate planning attorney.
Reference: Wall Street Journal (December 7, 2014) "Estate-Planning Essentials for Single People"
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