Skip to content
See all Blogs

What happens if I die in South Dakota without a Will?

What Is a Will?

A will is a written document that disposes of real and personal property after death. In South Dakota, a will takes effect upon a person’s death. If a person dies without a will, he or she is said to have died intestate. If there is no will, State law decides how property passes.

What Are South Dakota Laws Involving Wills?

Under South Dakota state law, if a person dies without a will, their surviving spouse is entitled to the entire intestate estate if the decedent did not have any living descendants unrelated to the surviving spouse. In blended families where, for example, there are children from a previous marriage, the spouse receives the first $100,000, plus one-half of any balance of the intestate estate. If a decedent does not have a surviving spouse or for the remaining property not passing to a surviving spouse, the property passes to the descendants such as children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, etc. by representation. If there is no surviving descendant, the property passes to the decedent's parents equally if both survive, or to the surviving parent. If the parents are not alive, then the property goes to descendants of the parents such as brothers and sisters.

It is important for you to determine where your property goes when you pass away and not leave it to the State to make those decisions for you. That why at Legacy Law Firm, we always recommend that every person 18 and over have a will, financial power of attorney, and healthcare power of attorney.