Most people understand the importance of having a comprehensive estate plan. However, there are thousands of people in the United States who die each year without a will. 
 
Dying without a will is dying “intestate.” When this happens, it may end up with the estate in probate for years. According to Findlaw, if somebody dies intestate, it means that the 1990 Uniform Probate Code will come into effect. 
 
What is the 1990 Uniform Probate Code? 
 
This code is the general starting point for anybody who dies intestate. Essentially, it serves as a blueprint for who will receive what part of any existing inheritance. The 1990 Uniform Probate Code typically tries to follow the most common pattern of inheritance. 
 
This means that the first person in line to inherit after an individual dies is the spouse, assuming that there is a surviving spouse. If the courts follow the 1990 Uniform Probate Code, then the spouse will get the entire estate after taxes and other expenses. If there is no spouse, the next legal inheritors are any surviving children. If there is no spouse and no children, then it is likely surviving parents will be the next likely to inherit. 
 
What are the problems with the 1990 Uniform Probate Code? 
 
While the Code does follow the most common line of inheritance, this path may not be your desire. The Code will not take into consideration aspects like need or estrangement. Dying intestate can result in surviving family members spending years in court, arguing over the estate. This is why a comprehensive estate plan is vital.