When Someone Dies Without A Will or Living Trust

Stephen “tWitch” Boss died in December 2022 and had not executed a Will or Living Trust. When an individual doesn’t have an estate plan, they are considered to have died intestate and state law will dictate who their property goes to. Because tWitch did not have a Will, Alison Holker Boss, tWitch’s wife, now must ask a court to confirm that she (Alison) is the surviving spouse and that she is entitled to tWitch’s one-half of their community property.

Only nine states are community property states: Washington and California happen to be two of those. In these states generally all assets acquired during marriage are considered community property subject to some exceptions like inheritance. A spouse can give away their one half of the community property and all their separate property to whomever they choose in an estate plan. Here in Washington, if you die without an estate plan and you are married then, per state law, your surviving spouse receives all your community property assets and one half or three-quarters of your separate property (if you have any) depending on whether you have children or if your parents are living. Alison’s filings are routine procedure for the court to declare her tWitch’s surviving spouse and allocate certain community property to her per laws of intestacy.

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