Skip to main content

What Happens If I Die Without A Will?

What Happens If I Die Without A Will?Unfortunately, many young people, and even some of us more mature folks, don’t want to think about our eventual death and fail to do estate planning. If you neglect having a will prepared and pass away without an estate plan, interstate succession laws will come into play.

Title 75 Utah Uniform Probate Code, Chapter 2, (Intestate Succession and Wills) governs what happens to your estate at that point. Only your assets that would have been passed through a valid will are affected by this Utah statute. This usually means the assets that you solely owned, not those co-owned with other people. Some property that would not pass through a will are:

  • Assets that you own with others
  • IRA, 401k or other retirement account investments
  • Property you placed in a living trust
  • Life insurance benefits
  • Securities or real estate held in a transfer-on-death account
  • Bank account funds that are designated payable on death

These funds or accounts will be transferred to the co-owners or to a named beneficiary, regardless of whether you had a will or not.

Who will get your estate funds under Utah Interstate Succession rules will depend on whether you have a spouse, children, or certain other living relatives when you pass away:

  • If you have children but no spouse, the children inherit your entire estate
  • If you have a spouse but no children, your spouse inherits your entire estate
  • If you have no decedents, or if any are born from you and your spouse, any spouse still living after your death will inherit your entire estate
  • If you have decedents such as children or grandchildren from prior relationships, your living spouse will inherit $75,000 plus 1/2 of the remaining balance. These other descendants will inherit the remaining balance
  • If you have living parents but no spouse or children, your parents inherit your estate
  • If you have siblings, but no spouse, children, or living parents, your siblings inherit your estate

Although rare, if you happen to die without leaving a will, and you or your spouse who passed away before you have no living family at all (spouse, children, parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces, cousins, etc.), the state of Utah will inherit your estate.

This is why it is so important to have a will and/or other estate planning documents, such as a trust, power of attorney, and living will before the worse happens. Estate law is complicated and tricky to handle, and this article is only a simplified version of interstate succession law. That is why you should contact an experienced estate law firm like T.R. Spencer Law Office at 801-566-1884 or send us an email at or on our contact page.

family, wills and trusts, will, estate