Worst States to Pass Away Without a Will: A Study by GoodTrust and Caring.com
When it comes to securing your family and financial future, there's a crucial piece that often gets overlooked: estate planning. Estate planning is the process of passing down your important belongings to the important people in your life as well as assigning a guardian for your minor children. One main point to understand is that each state has its own laws in regard to probate, guardianship, and asset distribution. In an effort to help make this information available and offer some education around the nuances in each state, GoodTrust partnered with Caring.com to document the specific laws in all 50 states across America. We then ranked each state based on the clarity and simplicity of their systems. The resulting ranking shows that New York, Alaska, Georgia, and Tennessee are the worst states to die without a will, while Iowa, Illinois, and Kansas pose the least risk for those without a will.
The 10 Worst States for Dying Without a Will
Securing an estate plan is important no matter where you live. It empowers you to maintain control of your assets and assign guardians for your dependents, while potentially avoiding the time-consuming and expensive probate process. If decisions aren't made ahead of time, your state will default to local laws that may not align with your wishes.
In cases where one passes without an estate plan, specific states pose more challenges for loved ones. Residents of New York, Alaska, Georgia, and Tennessee should prioritize proactive estate planning due to intricate state laws dictating the outcomes of dying without a will.
Estate Planning Laws: Know Your State
Estate laws vary by state, impacting what occurs after you or a loved one's passing. Discover your state's crucial rules on guardianship, assets, probate, and more. Click here to view your state on the interactive map to learn about local laws and risks, and ensure you're prepared.
Starting Your Estate Plan: A Simple Guide
Even if you're in a low-risk state for dying without a will, having an estate plan is vital. Without one, your loved ones could face a lengthy and complex legal process. Crafting a plan ensures you're in control of what happens to your assets and dependents. Ready to begin? Here's how:
Set Your Goals: Decide how you want your assets distributed and who'll care for your dependents. List Your Assets: Make a list of your belongings, from finances to properties. Choose Beneficiaries and Guardians: Select those who'll inherit your assets and care for dependents. Appoint an Executor: Choose someone to handle your affairs after your passing. Create Essential Documents: Draft your will and consider power of attorney, living will, and more. Inform Loved Ones: Share your plan and where vital documents are located.