Dying without a Will, or dying intestate, can trigger unnecessary stress for your family. Many people think dying without a will turns the probate process into a free for all. However, in the absence of a will, Washington State law dictates how your property will pass to your next of kin. Of course, we recommend every adult have their own will to ensure their property passes according to their wishes rather than according to the state’s cookie cutter laws.
The Washington State statute that addresses the distribution of assets when someone dies intestate is Revised Code of Washington 11.04.015. Generally, it states that the decedent’s surviving spouse is entitled to the following proportions of their estate:
- 100 percent if the decedent has no surviving descendants, parents or siblings
- 75 percent if the decedent is survived by their parents or siblings
- 50 percent if the decedent is survived by direct descendants.
In the above situations, where deceased’s parents, siblings and/or direct descendants, are still alive, each person in those respective groups will split the allotted portion of the estate equally among themselves.
In the event the decedent does not have a surviving spouse, the Washington State intestate succession guidelines require the estate be administered in the following order: descendants, parents, siblings, grandparents and next of kin.
Your estate plan shouldn’t be left to the government’s guidelines. If your friend or loved one has passed away without a will and you need help with the probate process or if you’re ready to draft your first will or even re-write a prior will, feel free to connect with us today. Cooney Law Offices. We can help!