What happens if you die without a will in Virginia

On Behalf of | May 23, 2024 | Wills |

Dying without a will in Virginia means the state’s intestacy laws determine the distribution of your assets. This process can lead to outcomes you might not desire.

Intestate succession

Virginia’s intestate succession laws dictate that if you are married with children, your spouse receives one-third of your estate, and your children share the remaining two-thirds. If you and your spouse don’t have children, your spouse is the sole heir. If you have children but no spouse, your children inherit everything.

No surviving spouse or children

If you die without a spouse or children, your estate goes to your parents if they have survived you. If not, it goes to your siblings. If you have no surviving siblings, the estate goes to more distant relatives.

Unmarried partners and stepchildren

Virginia’s intestate laws do not recognize unmarried partners or stepchildren that you have not legally adopted. Without a will, they receive nothing from your estate, regardless of your relationship with them.

Appointing guardians for minor children

Without a will, the court decides who becomes the guardian of your minor children, which may not align with your preferences. Naming a guardian in your will ensures that someone you trust takes care of your children.

Probate process

The probate court appoints an administrator to handle your estate. This person may not be someone you would have chosen. The administrator’s responsibilities include paying debts and distributing assets according to Virginia’s intestate laws.

Dying without a will leaves important decisions to the state. Creating a legal will ensures that estate distribution occurs according to your wishes. This simple step can prevent confusion and disputes among your survivors.