When you die without a will in place, your assets go to heirs based on the laws of intestate succession. Each state is a bit different when it comes to exactly who will inherit in the event a decedent dies without a will, but the goal is to give away your assets like how an average will would. How your assets are divided may be very different than what you actually want to happen. If you have people in your life that you don't want to leave your assets to and specific individuals you want to inherit your wealth, estate planning is the right way to go.
Understanding Intestate Succession
Intestate succession laws are based upon the Uniform Probate Code established in 1990. While this was a solid foundation for the many states that built their own succession laws on top of it, the law is not the same from state to state. Generally, if there is a surviving spouse, this individual will generally get either all or the majority of the estate. When there is not a spouse, any children may divide the estate equally. If there are no surviving children or a surviving spouse, the parents of the deceased individual will inherit the money.
When You Don't Want a Person to Inherit
If you have a large estate and you have close relatives that you don't want to inherit from your estate, your will should specifically state why you do not want the person or people to receive money from your estate. You must specifically disinherit any potential heirs so that there is no ambiguity as to your wishes.
If You Want to Leave Your Money to Charity
One of the most important ways to make an impact after you are gone is to leave some money to charity. Whether you belong to a church or you have a favorite library you want to leave money to, any nonprofit organization is generally a happy recipient of a charitable donation. If you don't have specific people you want to leave your wealth to, identify some charities that are important to you and specify where your money should go.
Estate planning is an important aspect of preparing for your future. When you have large assets, designating beneficiaries and creating a will helps clarify your wishes. Don't allow the state to divide your money for you, and make your wishes known. You may want an estate law attorney to help you. If so, go to sites like https://ivylawgroup.com.