Schedule A Consultation Today 425-333-2358

Helping You Plan Your Future And Solve Your Problems

View Our Practice Areas

What happens if a person dies without a will?

Drafting a will is an important part of estate planning for anyone in Kent, regardless of their assets and income. While some people may think they don't need a will, there are actually many good reasons to consider drafting one.

Some assets are passed on without a will. A savings pass-on-death account or life insurance proceeds, for example, go to named beneficiaries without a will. However, other financial assets such as a rental deposit, lawsuit settlement or medical reimbursement may also come up when a person passes away. It is difficult to address their distribution because checks for these assets are made out to the deceased and no beneficiaries are named. Therefore, it may be a good idea to address these assets in a will.

Sometimes couples place all their assets in joint names, which automatically pass property to the other owner, or with beneficiary forms such as an individual retirement account. However, there are also problems with this joint-asset strategy. For example, these mechanisms may leave out assets such as a car. When this occurs, an administrator must be named required to transfer its title. Moreover, this strategy does not address who receives the asset when the surviving spouse who received the joint asset later dies.

Executors are also named in wills to cash checks, handle tax matters, pay off creditors and engage in the distribution of property and assets to heirs. When an executor is not named, heirs must ask the court to appoint a personal administrator. This may ultimately lead to a dispute among family members, because courts usually name a surviving spouse or child.

Finally, Washington law dictates which family receives assets if a person dies intestate. This distribution may go against the person's intent, and may not address the financial needs of the surviving spouse or other family members.

A qualified lawyer can help with the drafting of a will and making other estate plans. This can help ensure that the person's wishes are carried out and inheritance issues and litigation are avoided.

Source: AARP, "Why you need a will," Jane Bryant Quinn, May 1, 2017

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Make Your Consultation Appointment

To speak with an attorney at Gellner Law Group about estate planning, probate, trusts, wills or tax controversy, contact our law office in Kent, Washington, today. You can call 425-336-2908 or send us an email. We provide representation across the entire Seattle-Tacoma metropolitan area.

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Email Us

Kent Office
8407 S. 259th Street
Suite 203
Kent, WA 98030

Phone: 425-336-2908
Fax: 253-852-0400
Kent Law Office Map

Kent Office

Spokane Office
505 W. Riverside Avenue
Suite 500
Spokane, WA 99201

Phone: 425-336-2908
Fax: 509-769-0202
Map & Directions

Spokane Office