Transferring Property at Death


If you die without either a will or a living trust, state intestate succession law controls the disposition of your property that does not otherwise pass via “operation of law,” such as by beneficiary designation. And settling your estate likely will be more troublesome — and more costly.

There are three basic ways for your assets to be transferred on your death:

  1. The will, which is the standard method;
  2. The living trust, which offers many advantages over a will; 
  3. Beneficiary designations, for assets such as life insurance and IRAs.