We typically don’t like to think about dying. But over the decades, I’ve worked with enough people in INB’s Wealth department to say one thing about this inevitable occurrence:

Don’t leave your loved ones without your will!

Mother and daughter talking at kitchen table

According to CNBC, two-thirds of U.S. adults have no will. And upon their death, there are serious implications for their family members and other potential heirs who will be grieving but also need to settle all of the financial affairs.

And if you think everything will be easily settled without a will, think again.

What happens without a will?

If a person dies without a will, it’s called dying “intestate.” In this case, the probate court decides who gets the deceased’s property – which means that a total stranger is distributing your assets!

Every state has its own laws, and it’s very uncertain what the courts can and will decide. If there are issues with things like child guardianship or decisions your potential heirs want to make, that only further complicates things.

For instance, the court can distribute your property – but it’s up to any potential heir to claim they have a right to it.

In Illinois, the probate court assigns an administrator to settle the deceased’s estate when there is no will, according to Illinois Legal Aid. The administrator has to do certain things, including:

  • Gathering all of the person’s assets
  • Paying bills, or
  • Giving out the estate property to those people who should receive money or property.

The biggest issue of dying without a will is that your loved ones could be in for a long and expensive battle with the legal system to prove what they think you would have wanted.

Don’t leave them guessing

The only thing that’ll be certain when you die without a will is that it will cause problems for your family, who will already be in a state of trauma over your death.

So how do you get a will?

You will need an attorney to prepare your will. Please contact us at INB Wealth if you would like a referral for an attorney.

Taking a small amount of time to prepare a will now is one of the most impactful ways you can help your family after you’re gone.