We all want our families and loved ones to be situated well after we have passed. Despite being a difficult topic for some people to discuss, the distribution of one’s properties and wealth before one even dies is an important matter to settle. This is when furnishing a last will & testament becomes very important. However, in some cases, people fail to provide a last will. This happens mostly when people die unexpectedly. The estate of the deceased can actually be officially distributed among his or her legitimate heirs even in a situation where a will was not left This process is called estate administration or settlement. With or without a will, the distribution of a deceased’s properties must always be officiated by court through the probate process. Read on to learn more about this.
What is Estate Administration?
Estate administration or settlement is a process where a court or executor implements a process that will decide how the funds of the deceased will be distributed. To start this process an official representative of the deceased needs to file the will in court to make it official. A person usually chooses the representative while he or she is still living. This person will be tasked to file the will and coordinate all the specifications of the distribution among the legitimate heirs. In cases where no representative is mentioned in the will, a court will assign a reputable point person for the case accordingly. Estate settlement also covers the welfare of the beneficiaries. When there are children involved for example, the court needs to make sure that the remaining parent is of sound mind and health to look after the children and their inheritance. Otherwise, the state will assign a guardian to look after the children and their inheritance until the children reach adulthood. Estate administration of valid wills is obviously an easier process. Aside from having all details of the allocation specified already, cases with valid wills from the deceased are usually easier for the involved heirs to accept; which leads to the following question.
What happens when a person fails to furnish a last will?
The failure to leave a will does not mean one’s family will not get anything from that person’s estate. When a person fails to make a will, the court will go by the laws of the state covering the distribution of estate and wealth of the deceased. These cases are processed by state courts, hence specifications of the distribution of properties may vary from one state to another. These laws also apply when a deceased’s will is also found invalid. The reasons that make a will invalid or unacceptable by court include: 1) when wills are not properly witnessed, 2) when a decedent is not in a right state of mind when the will was made, 3) when a will is fictitious, and 4) when there is unwarranted influence when the decedent made the will. As mentioned, the absence of a valid will shall require the court to go by the state laws in distributing the decedent’s properties and assets. The court will also assign a representative or a coordinator that will serve as the point of reference for the family.
In many cases, people don’t finish their wills early enough due to the awkwardness and discomfort it brings. The thought of leaving their families behind is something many people push away at any cost. Moreover, some people find it uncomfortable stating the specifications of their will in the fear of offending members of the family.