Is a Will necessary for a person with very limited assets?

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Is a Will necessary for a person with very limited assets?

I would like to write out a Will. I do not believe I own enough for the state to get involved; however I do not know. I only have one heir and would not want whatever I do have to be taxed or tied up in any way.

Asked on September 6, 2011 under Estate Planning, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

A will has nothing to do with whether your estate will be taxed or not on your death; tax is based solely on how large the estate is, and given that the first several hundred thousand dollars are tax exempt, if you have a smallish estate, the estate tax is likely a complete nonissue for you.

All a will does is make sure that your estate goes to the person you direct it to. If your beneficiary is a spouse and you have no surviving children, or if the beneficiary is a child of yours and you have no surviving spouse, intestate succession (the rules for gets what when there is no will) will most likely make sure that heir gets everything--though you are still recommended to draw up a will be sure. If your heir is any one other than your sole surviving child or your sole surviving spouse, you *definitely* need a will to make sure the heir gets what you want. Good luck.


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