Dying Without a Will
After cremation services in Sun City, AZ, if you have a will, your executor will take the instructions you leave for how you want your affairs to be handled and how you want your assets to be distributed and they will make those things happen.
Everyone should have a will. The reality is that people know they should have wills, but many of them never get around to creating one before they die. So, what happens when people who don’t have a will die?
The state of Arizona has laws that determine what happens to your assets and how your affairs are handled if you die without a will. These laws are known as intestate succession laws. While your assets will be distributed among family members and your affairs will be wrapped up under intestate laws, the distribution and the wrap up may not be what you would want or how you would have intended it to be.
There are some assets that are not affected by not having a will. These are assets such as those place in trusts, life insurance payouts, retirement accounts, securities that are held in a transfer-upon-death account, vehicles owned with transfer-upon-death registration, property you jointly own with someone else, community property that has right of survivorship designation, real estate that has a transfer-upon-death clause or is held by a beneficiary deed, and payable-upon-death bank accounts.
However, the rest of your assets are distributed in the following scenarios, when you die:
- With no surviving spouse, but with surviving children – children inherit everything
- With a surviving spouse, but no children – spouse inherits everything
- With a surviving spouse and children with that spouse – spouse inherits everything
- With a surviving spouse and children from another person – spouse inherits half of separate property (acquired before marriage) none of community property while children inherit half of separate property and half of community property (property acquired during the marriage)
- With parents, but no spouse or children – parents inherit everything
- With siblings, but no parents, spouse, or children – siblings inherit everything
Separate property is property that was acquired before you married your spouse. Community property is property that was acquired while you and your spouse were married. If you die without a will, and you have children from a previous relationship, they will get half of the property that you and your spouse acquired during your marriage, while your spouse does not get any.
The only exception to this division of property when you die without a will is any property that was given to your spouse as a gift or that you specifically designated them to be the recipient (beneficiary) of when you die (beneficiary deed or trust).
If you die without a will in Arizona, and only your children survive you, then your estate will be divided among them in equal shares. However, there are designations as to which children are entitled to a share of your estate. If the children are your biological children, adopted children, posthumous (born after you die as long as they survive 5 days after birth), birth children outside the marriage (established by DNA testing), and grandchildren of any of these children if they are not alive to receive their share of your estate.
If you die without a will in Arizona, stepchildren that you have not legally adopted and foster children are not eligible to inherit a share of your estate. Additionally, children that you may have given up for adoption to someone else are also not eligible to inherit any of your estate.
For information about cremation services offered in Sun City, AZ, including grief resources, our caring and knowledgeable staff at Simply Cremations & Funeral Arrangements is here to assist you. You can visit our funeral home at 16952 W Bell Rd., Ste 303, Surprise, AZ 85374, or you can call us today at (623) 975-9393.