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No Will? The Government May End Up Inheriting Your Estate

In the intricate dance of life's planning one often-overlooked step can have profound consequences for your legacy: creating a Will. Without this essential document, your estate may fall into the hands of unintended beneficiaries, including the government. Let's delve into how failing to make a Will during your lifetime can lead to the inheritance of your estate by the government and why taking action to create a Will is crucial.


When someone passes away without a Will, their estate is subject to intestacy laws. These laws dictate how assets are distributed among heirs, often following a predetermined hierarchy based on blood relationships. Intestate succession laws vary by jurisdiction but generally prioritize spouses, children, and other close relatives as heirs. However, if no eligible heirs are identified, or if the deceased has no living relatives, the estate may escheat to the government. Escheatment is the legal process through which unclaimed property, including estates without heirs or wills, reverts to the government.

We use the term "eligible" because there may in fact be living heirs, but they may be deemed by the government to be ineligible to inherit the estate. What makes an heir ineligible? Generally, the degrees of separation between the heir and the deceased person. In some jurisdictions, once an heir is 5 degrees removed from the deceased, they are not eligible to inherit.


In conclusion, the absence of a Will leaves your estate vulnerable to the government. By creating a Will, you take proactive steps to protect your estate from the government and ensure that you leave a legacy for your friends and loved ones. Remember, just because you don't make a Will, doesn't mean you don't have an estate plan. You do, it is just one that the government makes for you. Don't leave the fate of your legacy to the government—make a Will today and safeguard your estate for the future.

© 2024 Make Your Own Wills

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