What happens if someone dies without an Estate Plan?

Passing away without an Estate Plan is also known as passing away intestate. State laws prioritize both who can be the administrator and who will inherit from an intestate estate. State laws can vary, but the general order for both administrators and heirs is:

  1. The surviving spouse of the decedent.
  2. Any surviving children, or the offspring of any predeceased children (grandchildren, if adults.)
  3. Parents of the decedent.
  4. Siblings of the decedent or the offspring of any predeceased siblings (nieces and nephews, adults.)
  5. Grandparents of the decedent.
  6. Aunts and Uncles of the decedent (and any other extended family.)
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