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What happens to your estate if you don’t have a plan in place?

On Behalf of | Nov 11, 2021 | Estate Planning

You want to provide for your loved ones after you die, and you may have discussed your wishes with those closest to you. However, it is also important to outline those wishes in an estate plan. If you die without a will—also called dying intestate—what happens to your possessions?

Who will receive your estate?

While your loved ones will still receive your assets if you pass away without an estate plan, Virginia law outlines specific people who will inherit. If you have a living spouse, your spouse or your spouse and your children will receive your estate if possible. Without a living spouse, your children would receive your possessions, followed by your parents or your siblings.

For those without those family members, the estate may pass to the grandparents, uncles and aunts, great-grandparents, great-aunts and -uncles or their descendants, whoever is most closely related. Without living relatives, their assets may end in the hands of the state.

In any of these situations, only a few of your loved ones would inherit, and only those directly related to you. This means that stepchildren, close friends and others outside of your family would not receive any of your possessions. It also means that your closest relatives would receive the bulk of your estate rather than your possessions being divided among your loved ones more generally.

While intestate succession will provide for your family, you may still want to create a plan that reflects your wishes and ensures that all of the people you care about receive the possessions you intended for them.


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