Updated: October 3, 2016 by Kara Downing, CFP®
There is common misconception that only the wealthy die with an "estate." In reality, we are subject to the same probate laws that guide the wealthiest of estates regardless of our net worth. The bottom line is if you don’t have a valid will, your state will create one for you, and it’s highly likely that it doesn’t share your same interests, desires, and intent for your family and property. Sadly, more than 55% of Americans die each year without a will; and while it’s understandable why the subject of death is one that people prefer not to contemplate, if they understood what happens to their estate when they die “intestate” (without a will), they might reconsider their reluctance. Dying intestate, even with a small estate can create tremendous and unnecessary hardships – financial and emotional – on the people you want to protect.