Is a Will necessary for a person with very limited assets?

UPDATED: Sep 6, 2011

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Is a Will necessary for a person with very limited assets?

I would like to write out a Will. I do not believe I own enough for the state to get involved; however I do not know. I only have one heir and would not want whatever I do have to be taxed or tied up in any way.

Asked on September 6, 2011 under Estate Planning, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

A will has nothing to do with whether your estate will be taxed or not on your death; tax is based solely on how large the estate is, and given that the first several hundred thousand dollars are tax exempt, if you have a smallish estate, the estate tax is likely a complete nonissue for you.

All a will does is make sure that your estate goes to the person you direct it to. If your beneficiary is a spouse and you have no surviving children, or if the beneficiary is a child of yours and you have no surviving spouse, intestate succession (the rules for gets what when there is no will) will most likely make sure that heir gets everything--though you are still recommended to draw up a will be sure. If your heir is any one other than your sole surviving child or your sole surviving spouse, you *definitely* need a will to make sure the heir gets what you want. Good luck.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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