The most difficult part of estate planning in Olympia is deciding who gets what. You may not want to create the impression of favoring certain beneficiaries over others, which could inevitably lead to tension and discord. You might think it better to simply avoid drafting a formal estate plan and instead leave it to your loved ones to decide how to distribute your assets amongst themselves. Many indeed come to us here at Parr Price Law, PS with this thought. Unfortunately, we are here to tell you that the state does not allow anyone else other than you to dictate the dispersal of your estate.
Indeed, if you die without a will, the law classifies you as “intestate.” Laws have been established to determine how intestate estates have been distributed. In such a case, the Revised Code of Washington states that your spouse receives your entire estate if you leave behind no descendants. If you are survived by children (or grandchildren), then your spouse receives half of your estate while the other half would go to them. If you have no descendants, but one or both of your parents are still alive (and/or you have surviving siblings), then they are entitled to 25% of your estate, with the remaining going to your spouse (in this context, your estate is your separate property; your spouse is entitled to all of your community property in any situation).
If you have no spouse, your intestate estate passes as follows:
- To your descendants
- To your parents
- To your siblings (and their descendants)
- To your paternal and maternal kindred (in equal portion)
No allowances are given to anyone not actually related to you. You can learn more about estate planning basics by continuing to explore our site.