If a close friend dies and she doesn’t have a Will, is there a way to prevent her assets from being siezed by the state?

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If a close friend dies and she doesn’t have a Will, is there a way to prevent her assets from being siezed by the state?

Asked on November 2, 2012 under Estate Planning, Iowa

Answers:

Catherine Blackburn / Blackburn Law Firm

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

The State seizes a person's property only in rare situations.  Each state has a statute of descent and distribution that lists who inherits if the person dies without a will.  Those statutes go very far out into "the family tree" - usually first to a spouse, then to children, then to parents, then to siblings, then to nieces and nephews, then to "descendents." 

Who deserves the assets has nothing to do with it.  Who the deceased would have given them to has nothing to do with it.  What is fair has nothing to do with it.

The moral of this story is -- make a will.  Even a form will from the internet or an office supply store is better than no will.

 


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