A will gives directions about dividing and distributing your estate after death. Other parts of your estate plan also provides decisions about other issues, such as personal representation and who will serve as the guardian for your children while they are still minors.
However, these decisions are all left in the air if you die without preparing a plan or a will. In these situations, the law comes into play.
Generally, Oklahoma laws provide the following arrangements if you die without a will based on the following circumstances:
- Left a surviving spouse and children: Half of your estate goes to your spouse, while your children receive equal portions of the rest
- Left a surviving spouse and no children: Half goes to your spouse, and the rest goes to surviving parents
- Left children and no spouse: Divided equally among your children
- Left no spouse and children: Your entire estate goes to your parents
The law will also deal with more complicated circumstances. It will consider all valid heirs, including children and acquired property from previous marriages.
Additionally, your surviving spouse will manage your children’s portion while they are still minors. The court can also appoint a guardian for them as needed.
What happens if I have no surviving family members?
If you have no surviving spouse, children, parents, siblings and other family members, your estate goes to the state of Oklahoma. They will use it to support public schools.
These arrangements might sound reasonable, but you can have more control by preparing a will. In it, you can dictate distribution to parts of your life that you want to continue funding after death and prevent estate disputes among the people you love.