Most people are aware that having a comprehensive estate plan in place is very important to avoid potential legal hardship. However, it is also important to understand what will actually take place if you die without a will. 
 
A person who dies without a will has died “intestate.” According to Findlaw, if an individual dies intestate, then the 1990 Uniform Probate Code comes into effect. 
 
What is the code? 
 
Essentially, if the deceased has not legally made clear who will get which pieces of the estate, then the division of assets is up to the state. To make this process as simple as possible, the 1990 Uniform Probate Code tries to follow the most “logical” line of estate division. 
 
This means that the surviving spouse of the individual is likely to get the majority of the estate. If there is no surviving spouse, property will go to the children of the deceased. If there is no spouse in there are no children, surviving parents are the next in line. 
 
What are the downsides of the code? 
 
While the 1990 Uniform Probate Code does follow a very common line of succession, this is not what everybody wants. Additionally, the 1990 Uniform Probate Code will not take into account things like need. Plus, dying intestate can end up with your surviving relatives involved in legal battles that can end up taking a long time, being very expensive, and ruining family relationships. 
 
Having a comprehensive estate plan in place for your death is the best way to ensure that the law follows your wishes and disseminates your estate as easily as possible.