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What happens if a person dies intestate

| Jan 31, 2019 | Estate Planning |

Some people in Louisiana might think they do not need to create a will because they have so few assets. However, a will can also be used to name a guardian for any minor children. Family members may go to court if a guardian is not named, but the relative who is granted guardianship might not be the one a parent would have chosen. This is also true if the person is responsible for the care of an adult who is mentally incapacitated.

Dying intestate means dying without a will. State law determines who will receive a person’s assets if he or she dies without a will. This is usually an individual’s closest next of kin. As is the case with the guardianship, this could result in a distribution of assets that would not have been the person’s choice.

For example, a person might not want to leave assets to family members at all. With a will, an individual may pass on his or her assets to another party or even a charitable organization.

Even if someone possesses few assets of value, there may be sentimental items that he or she wishes to pass to certain family members, which can be included in a will. There are other reasons to create an estate plan as well. A person might want to appoint someone who is responsible for making medical decisions in case he or she becomes incapacitated by illness or injury and is unable to do so. Someone can also be assigned to manage an individual’s finances. In addition to, or instead of, a will, some people also use a trust to pass assets. Trusts allow for more privacy and a quicker distribution of assets. Some people who have trusts also have what is known as a “pour-over will” that places any remaining assets in the trust when they die.