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What it means to die intestate

On Behalf of | Jul 25, 2023 | Estate Planning

If you die without a valid will, Maryland law will declare you intestate. This means that your assets will pass in accordance with state law as opposed to how you would have wanted to allocate them. It’s possible to avoid dying intestate by creating a will, having a trust or titling assets so that they can pass without the need for probate.

A will could be deemed invalid

If you have a will, it could be deemed invalid for various reasons. Those reasons may include the fact that it was handwritten, wasn’t signed by a sufficient number of witnesses or that it was created while you are legally incapacitated. In other words, any estate planning that you engage in while not of sound mind won’t be allowed to stand in court. In some cases, portions of a will are invalidated, while other sections are allowed to stand.

Avoiding probate without a will

Your estate only needs to go through probate if there are assets inside of it. Holding items in a trust means that you no longer own them; after you die, it also means that you no longer control them. Titling assets to pass to another person also helps get them out of your estate without a judge’s permission. Typically, all a beneficiary needs to obtain items now titled in their name is to show a copy of your death certificate.

Dying intestate may creates multiple problems for your spouse, children and other surviving family members. This is because neither you nor they control who gets your assets. If you die without a will or other estate planning documents, your spouse will likely inherit most of your property.