It may happen that a loved one passes away without a will. When this occurs, the estate must go through the probate process. These proceedings will vary from state to state, but will generally involve determining how property and assets are to be handled. The probate court will appoint an administrator, identify heirs and distribute assets. How property will be distributed will depend on state law. If the person has family members, they’ll usually receive a portion of the estate depending on their relationship with the deceased. If there are no surviving family members, the property may be defaulted to the state. Drafting a will is important if you wish to ensure that your property will be distributed as you see fit. You can also minimize estate taxes by planning for this ahead of time. If you’re looking for legal help with a will, or if a family member has passed on without a will, an attorney may be able to help. Use our directory to find a qualified attorney in your area.