How Your Property Passes If You Do Not Have A Will
If you do not have a valid will, property in your name solely (not jointly owned property or property owned by you with a designated beneficiary, for example, a retirement account with a named beneficiary) will pass at your death in accordance with the laws created by your state of primary residence for persons who die without a will. Such laws are known as the “Laws of Intestacy.” If you do not have a valid will, this will occur regardless of your wishes.
The following is a summary of the Laws of Intestacy for the State of Connecticut, outlining how your probate property would pass after payment of death, funeral expenses, estate settlement costs and death taxes:
- If you are survived by your spouse, he or she will inherit:
- 100% of the intestate estate if you have no living parent and no living issue (e.g. children, grandchildren, great grandchildren).
- The first $100,000 plus 75% percent of the balance if you have no living issue but are survived by parents(s) with 25% of the balance passing to your surviving parent(s).
- The first $100,000 plus 50% of the balance if you are survived by descendants, all of whom are also descendants of your surviving spouse.
- 50% of the balance of the intestate estate if any of your surviving descendants are not also descendants of your surviving spouse.
- If you are survived by children or grandchildren, they will inherit:
- 100% of the intestate estate of you have no surviving spouse, or
- 50% of the balance of the intestate estate, after payment to your surviving spouse, per above.
- If you are not survived by spouse or descendants, the following will inherit:
- 100% of the intestate estate to your surviving parent(s), or if none,
- 100% of the intestate estate to your surviving siblings and descendants of the deceased siblings; or if none,
- 100% of the intestate estate to your next of kin; or if none,
- 100% of the intestate estate to your surviving stepchildren and descendants of deceased stepchildren.
To avoid property passing at your death perhaps to unintended beneficiaries, but in accordance with your state’s laws of intestacy, you should have your will and beneficiary designations reviewed to confirm that they are valid and up-to-date. Attorney Steier would be pleased to help you with this process.
MARK S. STEIER