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What if you die without a will?

On Behalf of | Mar 30, 2020 | Estate Planning

Writing out your will can be a stressful process due to the fact that you do not want your decisions regarding your estate to cause discord amongst your heirs once you are gone. Some in Owensboro might even try to tell you to bypass the process altogether and instead allow your potential beneficiaries to decide how to divide up your assets.

Yet is that even allowed? According to state law, it is not. Indeed, Kentucky has its own guidelines on what happens if you die intestate (without a will).

Kentucky’s intestate succession guidelines

The rules and regulations governing intestate succession in Kentucky are in Sections 391-392 of the state’s Revised Statutes. Here it states that if you do not leave behind a will, your surviving spouse would inherit your entire estate if you are not also survived by any descendants, parents or siblings. If any of those parties (along with your spouse) are still alive when you pass away, then your estate descends as follows:

  • Spouse and descendants: Spouse inherits half of your personal property plus half of your real property to sell and remaining one-third of your real property to use during your life (the remainder goes to your descendants)
  • Spouse and parents: Estate descends as it would be between your spouse and descendants
  • Spouse and siblings: Estate descends as it would be between your spouse and descendants (or your spouse and your parents)

If you are not survived by your spouse, then your intestate estate would pass to your descendants, your parents and your siblings (in that order).

No allowances for non-relatives

You will notice that there are no allowances made for anyone you are not related to. If you wish to leave anything to a friend, business partner or charitable organization, you must detail that in a will.