Dear Liz: If a spouse dies without a will, will they automatically inherit everything?
Anything that has a named beneficiary, such as a retirement account or life insurance policy, usually transfers to the person named as the beneficiary, even if it is not the surviving spouse. Your bank account or investment account may also have a “remit on death” or “pay on death” beneficiary. In many states, cars and even homes can be passed through with beneficiary designations. Additionally, shared assets are transferred to other owners.
In the absence of a will or living trust, other assets would pass to the deceased spouse’s survivors according to state law. You can look up these laws by searching for your state’s name and the words “intestate succession.” If there are no children, the surviving spouse may inherit everything or it may have to be shared with the deceased’s parents or siblings. If there are children, the surviving spouse inherits a portion of the estate and the children get the remainder.
For example, in California, a community property state, if there is one child, the spouse will inherit all of the community property and one-half of the separate property, and the child will inherit the remainder. If she has two or more children, the spouse gets all of the community property and her one-third of the separate property, with the children sharing the remainder.
Dear Liz: When the Social Security Administration adjusts cost of living, are these increases factored into benefits for people who don’t already receive Social Security?
answer: social security inflation adjustment Regardless of whether or not you actually collect the check, it will be included in your retirement benefits starting at age 62. Therefore, there is no reason to expedite your application just to finalize a cost of living adjustment.
Liz Weston is a certified financial planner and personal finance columnist in the United States. Nerd wallet. Questions can be directed to 3940 Laurel Canyon, No. 238, Studio City, CA 91604 or by using the “Contact” form below. askrizweston.com.