What Happens if I Die Without a Will in Virginia?

By Kathleen C. Morris - 11/19/2020

If a person dies without a will, it is said that he/she died intestate.  Failing to execute your own estate plan, means that you are leaving your property to be distributed according to state law. 


In Virginia, the law provides that any assets or funds you have at death, your estate, will be spent or distributed as follows. First, any debts, estate costs, and funeral expenses will be paid.  What happens next depends on your specific circumstances.  Here are few ways an intestate estate could be distributed:

  • If you were single and with no children, your parents would inherit.
  • If you were single with children, you children would inherit.
  • If you were married with no children, your spouse would inherit.
  • If you were married with children, all of which were also children of your spouse, your spouse would inherit.
  • If you were married with children, at least one of whom is not your spouse’s child, your spouse would inherit 1/3 of your estate and your children would split the remaining 2/3rds of the estate.

This last distribution may surprise a few people.  It is easy to assume that if you pass away your spouse will automatically receive everything you have. That is simply not the case.


Estate planning allows you to decide how your assets will be distributed – not the government.  Further, estate planning is about more than just your assets after you pass, it is about ensuring that your finances and health are properly provided for during your life. 


Proper estate planning saves you and your loved ones time and stress.  If you are ready to work on your plan, We are ready to help!  You can contact us here.