When you die, everything you own comes up for grabs. If you have an estate plan in place, then you have established who will get which assets. The state will abide by your wishes as long as you have legally put your plan in place.
However, if you die without an estate plan or a will of any type, the consequences could cause headaches for the loved ones you leave behind.
State takes over
Instead of you making the decisions about what happens with your assets, the state law decides for you. The court will take over your estate and choose someone to serve as your personal representative to manage your estate. The law will then dictate who gets your assets. The succession laws will move through your next of kin based on who is in your life. For example, if you have a spouse, then he or she will likely get the bulk of your estate. If you have children, it can complicate things.
There may be disagreements among your family. It happens even when there is a will in place. But without a will, family members can try to make claims and take assets. This is likely to lead to arguments, and it can tie your estate up in probate for a long time, which is not good for any family members who need access to your assets to take care of their needs.
The bottom line is that if you fail to plan your estate, you lose all control over what happens with it. You cannot guarantee that you will be able to leave behind assets to take care of your loved ones, and any wishes you had will become a moot point.