What Happens if You Die Without a Will

So, what happens if you die and you don’t have a Will or Trust? Does money and property go to the State of Colorado? Do your belongings just go to your family? If so, which family members? This article explains what happens if you die without a Will.  

First, when someone dies with a spouse, the spouse receives a portion of the estate upfront but not always the entire estate. We have another article explaining this situation.

Second, if there is no surviving spouse, the estate (money and property) goes to your children and grandchildren at each generation.

Third, if there is no surviving spouse and if there are no children or grandchildren, the estate goes to your parents.

Fourth, if there isn’t a spouse, children/grandchildren, nor living parents, your estate goes to your parents’ descendants (usually your siblings) and their children/grandchildren.

There are more rules that affect these situations. In any case, a Last Will and Testament helps everyone with clarity regarding who gets what. Additionally, accounts setup as POD (payable on death) and accounts with beneficiaries such as life insurance policies do not have to follow the terms of a Will or Trust. These accounts are simply distributed to whomever is named in the account as a POD or beneficiary regardless of what the Will or Trust says.

If you have any questions or concerns about these rules, please contact Rossi Law.