The common perception is correct that, in most common cases, assets transfer first to the surviving spouse and then in equal percentage to the children if no spouse is surviving.
But there are a number of benefits to creating a Will, especially given the low cost and ease to do so.
First, if no Will is in place prior to death, the asset distribution process must wind its way through Probate Court (even if only one spouse in a married couple dies).
Creating a Last Will and Testament eliminates all doubt as to a person’s wishes in regards to asset distribution, either upon the death of that person or if a married couple should die at the same time
Further, if there is no Will, the Court can decide on a distribution of assets that it feels is more fair (although this is not common unless one of the parties contests a distribution).
Finally, if a person has any specific gifting wishes or wants to add any conditions to the distribution of assets, a Will is required.
So bottom line, for less than $15 a single person or a married couple can create a Last Will and Testament that eliminates all concerns about the distribution of assets and speeds that distribution through the Probate Court. That is money well spent.
Complete details can be found on the Standard Legal’s Last Will and Testament page.
P.S.: if you do decide to create a Will, we suggest you also review the details of the Living Will to create it at the same time. (The Living Will is offered at a discount during checkout when a Will is purchased.) A Living Will allows a person to give healthcare directives regarding injury, incapacitation, or medical emergency. It is far better to spell out in advance any wishes regarding emergency healthcare situations than to leave such a difficult choice to your spouse or to your children.