What Happens to Your Money When You Die?

Daniel Penzing
Written by
Last update:

Find out how to make sure your loved ones inherit your assets when you're gone.

The most common misconception about wealth is that it lasts forever. Although you don’t have to worry about paying your bills when you’re alive, unfortunately, your money doesn’t just sit there and earn interest. The older generation has more assets and property than the younger generation and often leaves this wealth to their children when they pass away.

Your estate is everything you own in your lifetime – assets, debts, property, and the will that helps you distribute that wealth to your heirs once you’re gone. The size of your estate and who gets what that wealth can depend on the type of will you make.

Creating a will is a smart way to make sure your assets are distributed as you want. If you don’t create a will, the state’s law will decide how to distribute your property. But creating a will is just the first step in ensuring your family inheritance. You need to make sure that your assets can be transferred to the people you choose.

There Are Two Common Types of Wills ––

A will made in front of witnesses is called a nuncupative will. This type of will has no formal requirements, but it must be made in front of two witnesses.

What Is a Will?

What happens if you Die Without a Will?

What happens to your money and other assets when you die? This is a complicated question and one that we won’t be able to answer completely in this post. It’s a question you should answer on your own with an estate attorney.

Here’s a guideline of what may happen if you die without a will: Your assets will be distributed according to the laws of the state you live in.

If you and your spouse are married, the laws of the state may dictate that all marital property is owned 50 / 50 by both spouses. In some states, the spouse may be considered the sole heir to the other’s property.

If you have children, the child’s mother or father may receive all of your assets. If you and your spouse are separated or you have children from multiple partners, that partner may not receive anything.

If you have a trust, but did not create a will, there’s a possibility that the beneficiaries you named in the trust will receive your assets instead.

If you die with children of multiple partners, there’s a possibility that those children’s parent will receive your estate.

How Does a Will Protect Your Investment Portfolio?

A will is one of the most important documents you will ever write. When it comes time to write your will, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • It needs to be simple and to the point
  • Each individual should have their own, signed copy
  • You should know where you stored them when it comes time to find them

This is why you should consider having your investments listed in your will. Putting your investments into a will protects your inheritance from being fought over and allows your most trusted family and friends to handle your investment finances without issue. This will allow you to avoid probate and will allow your beneficiaries to be easily identified.

When the time comes to write your will, consider adding the following to your will:

Identifying which investments you wish to be passed on to which family members.

Whether you wish to exclude certain loved ones from receiving your investments.

Where you wish your investments to be held once you have passed.

You should also get in the habit of providing your beneficiaries with a current list of all your investments and the contact information for your financial advisors.

An Easy Way to Ensure Your Portfolio Transfers to Your Spouse

What to Include in a Will

Some people would rather not talk about death. It seems morbid to even contemplate it, let alone put plans in place. However, whether you want to admit it or not, the day will come when you pass away. And we all have someone we would like to leave as inheritance and distribute our assets to. If you haven’t taken the time to make a will, then that task will be left to your relatives, and they’re not going to thank you for it. So, no matter where you are down the line, it’s time to make a will. All you have to do is fill out all the relevant details on the will template. Of course, it might feel a bit funny to think about leaving something for your family when you’re still living, but it’s the right thing to do.

In most cases, the will itself is the only thing you need to include in your estate. However, your executor may need some other assistance too. In this article, we’re going to break down all the pieces of paperwork your executor should be looking for.

Can You Do a Will Online?

Trust and Will

The money and assets you leave behind when you die are known as your estate. It’s a sum that can be quite sizable, especially if you’ve been working for multiple decades. The process of transferring your estate to your second, third, and fourth (or sixth, seventh), etc. beneficiaries is called probate.

Most people don’t realize it, but when they have a will, the law requires the approval of the court before it can take effect. Because of this, it’s common to have two things. The first is called a trust, and this is basically a document that says how to administer your estate if you are incapacitated or die. The second thing is what is known as a will. This is what you use to control what happens to your assets during your lifetime.

If you don’t have a trust, and you die without a will, the probate process will be more complex and expensive. And since there is no will, the courts will decide how to manage your assets instead of you.

Money held in a trust is separate from your estate, meaning it doesn’t count in the total value that your loved ones inherit when you die. Also, when you designate a beneficiary to inherit from your trust, you will not have to deal with the lengthy process of probate.

Fabric

Finance experts remind us again and again that the secret to wealth is saving. We know the importance of saving, but somehow it is a very difficult process.

The concept of saving is difficult because of the fact that the money is being set aside for a specific thing. Money in the bank or in an investment like a pension or insurance plan is earmarked for retirement. That money is not available for a new TV or a vacation. And the size of the savings are too small to be noticed or are invested in long-term contracts, so there is no chance to access them immediately.

Over the years there have been lots of successful ideas as to how to make saving more appealing to those of us who have weak saving habits.

There are people who use a piggy bank to save. There are still others who keep their pots in plain view, and if they have a few dollars they take them out and put them in the pot to save it. This is a bit like hiding money money in a jar, but many people find it easier than hiding money under the mattress or in a sock drawer.

Rocket Lawyer

You may have heard a lot of different advice about how to handle your money when you pass away. Here, we’ll take a look at two main streams of thought: 1) saving money to leave to your final beneficiaries (family members or friends), and 2) leaving money in trust for your final beneficiaries to use upon their death.

Protect Your Portfolio

Making sure that your money is safe after your death is important. But figuring out how to do this isn’t always easy. To make things less confusing, you first need to understand the difference between probate and non-probate property.

Probate property is property that is administered through the probate process. This process requires a court order and provides a fiduciary with the power to distribute the estate to the proper parties.

Non-probate property is property that doesn’t need to go through the probate process. When you own this type of property, your will provides the instructions for how the property is to be distributed.

Stock Certificates

The first thing that you should consider when figuring out your will is stock certificates. Make sure to contact each company that you own stock in and see whether or not they offer any type of inheritance service. For example, some brokerage companies offer an inheritance packet, which includes a dividend check for the stock owner and a stock certificate for the beneficiary. Other companies will allow the stockholder to give instructions for how the stock should be distributed. And still others will require that you turn in the stock certificate and apply for a new one.