Death & Intestate Residue Rules
Are you married with children, but do not have a Will? If you were to be crushed by a meteor tomorrow do you know who would get your money? Keep reading and find out.
If you are married with children and were to die without a Will (called dying intestate) your surviving spouse does not simply inherit the residue of your Estate (i.e., what is left over after your Estate has paid all your debts). Instead, your surviving spouse would be put to a choice, either a) claim an equalization payment from your Estate, or b) claim a “preferential share” from your Estate. If he or she takes an equalization payment then the remaining residue of your Estate, in most cases, gets distributed to your children equally. If he or she takes the preferential share option, then the residue of your Estate is distributed as follows.
A spouse claiming a preferential share is entitled to the first $200,000 from the residue of the Estate, and depending on how many children you have, up to 50% of the remaining residue. If you have one child, then your spouse and child would split the remainder on 50/50 basis. If you have two or more children, your spouse would get 1/3 of the remaining residue with the balance to be split equally amongst all of the children. If your Estate has less than $200,000, your spouse gets the entire residue and your children get nothing.
If you do not want your Estate distributed in this manner, give us a call. We are always happy to take a few minutes to talk with anyone about their Estate planning options. The call is free, so you have nothing to lose. Your future self will thank you. We promise.
This article is provided for general information purposes and should not be considered a legal opinion. Clients are advised to obtain legal advice on their specific situations.