Vermont inheritance laws establish rules regarding the transfer of assets after a death. Under Vermont laws, intestacy rules apply in situations where someone has passed away without having a last will and testament. Intestacy laws facilitate the transfer of assets to close relatives, but when these laws are applied, the deceased does not have a say in what happens to his property. To avoid having your assets transferred without your control, you need to create an estate plan with help from an experienced attorney.
Unsworth LaPlante, PLLC can provide an explanation on Vermont inheritance laws after someone you care about has passed away. We assist families of individuals who died intestate in understanding how assets are transferred and who will inherit. We also help clients to create a last will and to use other legal tools to control who inherits. Give us a call today to learn more.
How Do Vermont Inheritance Laws Determine Who Inherits When There is No Will?
Vermont explains the definition of an intestate estate in Title 14, Chapter 42. This same chapter also provides details on how assets transfer in the event someone died without creating a will or otherwise creating an estate plan. The law aims to make certain that a deceased person’s assets are transferred to close family if there is no will to explain exactly what the deceased would have wanted to happen to his property and money.
The specifics of what actually happens to property varies depending upon who has survived the deceased person. For example:
- If the deceased died with a spouse but no descendants, the spouse inherits everything.
- If the deceased died with a spouse and only children or descendants who were shared with that spouse, the spouse inherits everything.
- If the deceased did with children but did not have a surviving spouse, the children inherit.
- If the deceased died with a spouse and with at least one descendant not shared with that spouse, the spouse inherits half of the intestate property and can ask for household goods and certain vehicles. The descendants inherit everything else.
- If the deceased died with surviving parents, but had no spouse or descendants, the parents inherit the deceased’s entire estate.
- If the deceased died with siblings but did not have surviving parents, a spouse, or descendants, the siblings inherit.
Only certain property transfers under Vermont inheritance laws for interstate succession. If you have property in a living trust, property in transfer-on-death or payable-on-death accounts, or jointly held property, none of these assets will transfer during probate according to intestate succession rules. Instead, the assets will transfer to trust beneficiaries or to the designated beneficiary. Life insurance proceeds also are paid to the named beneficiary.
When Should You Create a Last Will?
Many people do not want their estate to transfer under Vermont intestacy laws because they wish to decide for themselves what will happen rather than leaving it in the hands of the government. It is natural to want to have more control over who inherits so Vermont law does not dictate what happens to all of the assets which you have acquired over your life of working.
You may want to ensure you can give to charity after you pass away, or may want to leave more money to certain relatives than to others. You may also want to dictate how certain family heirlooms or special property transfers, as intestacy laws do not take into account sentimental value when dividing up assets.
In order to make sure you have the control you want and your estate isn’t simply divided by default Vermont inheritance laws, you need to make a last will and testament and/or create a comprehensive estate plan. You should create this plan before anything happens to you, and should make sure you have followed all formal legal requirements so your will and other estate planning documents are valid ones. If you wait too long and something unexpected happens to you – which can occur at any time to people of all ages – you may lose control over your legacy.
Getting Help With Vermont Inheritance laws
Unsworth LaPlante, PLLC can assist you in understanding all Vermont inheritance laws which could apply to your own estate or to the estate of someone you love who has passed away. To find out more about the rules for inheriting property and about who inherits when no will has been left, give us a call at (802) 879-7133 or contact us online today. You can also learn about estate planning and inheritance laws by joining us for a free seminar.