The term “intestate” defines the condition that would exist if you pass away without executing any estate planning documents that state your final wishes regarding asset distributions. If you die without a will or a trust, you would die intestate.
Property that is considered to be probate property would be distributed under the intestate succession laws of the state of Pennsylvania. Probate property would be property that was in your direct and sole personal possession at the time of your death.
Probate can be a time-consuming process, even if there is a will in place, and it would be further complicated by the condition of intestacy. In addition to this, the property may not be distributed in accordance with your actual wishes if the intestate succession laws are applied.
Transfers Outside of Probate
Under certain circumstances, assets would be transferred to certain people of your own choosing without the utilization of the intestate succession laws, even if you die without any estate planning documents.
Life insurance proceeds would be transferred to the beneficiaries even if you did not have a will.
Another type of transfer that would take place in an organic fashion outside of probate would be a transfer of property to a joint tenant. If you own property, you can add a co-owner to the title or deed. This person would be called a joint tenant in legal lingo.
After you pass away, the joint tenant would assume ownership of the entirety of the property, and the intestate succession laws would not come into play.
When you open up a bank account or a brokerage account, you will probably be offered a payable on death option. This allows you to name a beneficiary who would inherit any remainder that may be left in the account after you die.
The beneficiary would assume ownership of the assets in the account after your passing, even if you did not have a will or a trust.
Estate planning is one of the core responsibilities of adulthood. There are many different reasons why you should have an estate plan in place, and the avoidance of intestacy is just one of them.
If you need to be convinced, download our special report. This report provides 15 reasons why every responsible adult should have an estate plan. The report is free, and you can get your copy here: Free Estate Planning Report.
Talk to a Lawyer
Some people know that they should have an estate plan, but they are frozen with inaction because they don’t know where to begin. If you feel this way, our firm can help.
We offer free consultations, and we would be glad to answer all of your questions. To get the ball rolling, send us a message through this page: Southampton PA Estate Planning Attorneys.
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