What Happens When There is No Will?

What Happens When There is No Will?

Estate Planning Law Firm St. Peters, MO

The passing of a loved one when there is no will in place can be catastrophic. Not only will the family be left to make sense of how their loved one may have wanted their estate handled, in some situations, but decisions may also be left up to probate court. In the absence of a will, an estate planning law firm can assist you in the probate process to follow. Knowing the direction to take towards resolving your loved one’s estate can feel complicated, especially for someone with no experience in navigating probate proceedings. Here are some things that will happen when a person passes away without a will in place:

Probate Proceedings

Probate proceedings are a legal process by which the court oversees the distribution of a person’s estate. While probate may occur even when someone has passed with an estate plan, it is a clear given when a person did not have a will in place at the time of their passing. During probate proceedings:

  • An executor will be identified
  • Debts and taxes will be paid
  • The estate will be valued by taking an inventory of assets
  • Assets will be distributed to identified beneficiaries


When a person passes away without a will, they have died intestate. When this has occurred, there is no plan available to outline how the person who has passed would like their assets and estate to be managed. Additionally, there will be no one identified to serve as the executor of the estate. Should this occur, the court will be required to step in and oversee an estate until they are able to identify the appropriate executor.

Appointing the Executor

When a person passes away without a will, the court will work to appoint an executor to oversee the estate. In most cases, the courts prefer to appoint someone within the family to take on this role. Options can include:

  • Spouse
  • Child
  • Sibling

Should there be a dispute amongst family over who should take on this important role, the court may bypass the family and opt to appoint an administrator to oversee your loved one’s estate.

Contacting a Law Firm for Help

The days following the passing of your loved one can feel like doom and gloom. Not only will you be overwhelmed with grief, but you will also be required to contend with the estate of your loved one. In the absence of a will, your loved one has died intestate. Because of this, it’s likely that you will be required to contend with probate proceedings. An attorney can help you amidst the grief and sense of loss you will be experiencing by:

  • Providing you with a clear path towards resolving the estate of your loved one
  • Provide you with peace of mind in knowing that legal proceedings are being appropriately managed
  • Provide you with the guidance needing
  • Efficiently assist you in resolving the estate
  • Guide you during communications with beneficiaries

An estate planning law firm St. Peters, MO trusts can help gently guide grieving family members through the probate process. This has the ability to help you during this dark time you are facing. When a person passes away without a will, the series of unknowns will be amplified. Call today so that an attorney can help you pursue probate while reducing the stress you may be experiencing as a result.

Contact Legacy Law Center for their insight into estate planning and what happens when there is no will.