What Happens to a House When the Owner Dies Without a Will?

Last Updated on October 13, 2021 by Fair Punishment Team

Nobody likes to think about what would happen in the instance of their death, but unfortunately, you never know when your time is going to be up.

If you do not currently have a will, but you want your possessions to go to certain people, then you should think about getting one sooner rather than later.

When you die and do not have a will in place, things can start to get really tricky.

It makes it much more difficult for everything to be shared out fairly, and your inheritance might even end up with the last person that you would ever have wanted to give it to.

What Happens to a House When the Owner Dies Without a Will

If you want to know what happens to a house or your children when you die without a will, then you have come to the right place.

These are some of the things that we are going to talk about in this article, as well as how marriage might further complicate the process and why having a will in place is so important.

What Happens to a House When the Owner Dies Without a Will?

If you want to be sure that all of your assets and property is going to be given to a certain person or certain people, then you must have a will to make sure that this is the case.

A will is really important to ensure that everything is being given to the right person, and to make sure that your stuff isn’t going to the last person that you would have chosen.

Without a will, it is up to the court to decide what happens to this property, and there may be certain people that are left out due to the laws that are in place.

When a person dies without a will, it is called dying intestate, and when this happens, nobody will have any say over who gets the estate.

Without a will to dictate what goes to whom, the estate will go into probate, which is a legal process where the court will use the laws of the state to decide who inherits what.

Probate can take anywhere from a few months to a few years, depending on how complicated the estate is and what the laws are. Any legal fees that are incurred will be paid out of the estate, and this can become really expensive.

The intestate succession laws will usually decide who will inherit what, and these laws will vary from state to state. More often than not, the estate will be split between the surviving spouse and children.

However, if someone is single and without any children, the state will decide which relatives are going to inherit. If no relatives can be found, then the entire estate will go to the state.

What Happens If I Am Married and Die Without a Will?

As we have previously mentioned, the laws are different in every state, so if you are married and die without a will, it is likely that the estate will go to the spouse if you both own the property.

In legal terms, it is called community property. Although, if you have separate property, then it is more likely that it would be split among any children, siblings, parents, and surviving spouse.

If you are married with children and living in New York and you die without a will, then the law says that the spouse will inherit the first $50,000 of your personal assets, plus half of the balance. Anything that is remaining would be divided among your children.

However, if you had the same circumstances, but you lived in Tennessee, then the spouse would receive one-third of the estate, and the rest would be given to the children in equal amounts.

In both of these circumstances, any step children would not be recognized as valid airs, even if they have been raised as your own children. Things can get very complicated very quickly if you die without a will. 

What Happens to My Child If I Die Without a Will?

If you have children, and you pass away without a will, the courts will decide on a guardian for them.

For the majority of the time, a family member will step in to look after your children, but the problem with this would be that you may not have wanted this person to care for your children. 

The only way to avoid this situation would be to have a will. Having a will would allow you to designate a specific person or couple to look after your children if you were to die. 

In terms of what your children would receive, if there was no surviving partner, the children of the person who has died would inherit the entire estate. If there are two or more children, the estate would be equally split between all of them.

If the children are under the age of majority, then this money would not be given to them straight away.

Instead, it would be held in a trust that is managed by a trust administrator or your children’s guardian. They will be able to access these funds when they reach the age of majority. 

Why is Having a Will So Important?

If you want to avoid all of the complications that could arise once you have died if you don’t have a will, then it is really important to have one in place.

You do not have to have a will, but it would ensure that the right people are inheriting your estate, and that nobody who you would like to be included gets left out.

A will can also stop any arguments occurring after your death, and make sure that everything is split exactly how you want it to be. It would also allow you to include stepchildren if you wanted to.

The only way to leave anything to friends would be to have a will, as they are automatically excluded from the process if you do not have one. The purpose of your will is to ensure that your estate is reaching the right people.