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When Amy Winehouse died in July, the first thing everyone wanted to know was how it happened. The second thing everyone wanted to know? What would happen to Amy Winehouse's estate.
Recently released probate records indicate that Winehouse's estate -- after taxes -- is worth about $4.6 million U.S. They also state that the singer died without a will.
Her parents will get everything.
The same thing would happen if Amy Winehouse had died in the United States. All fifty states and the U.K. have what is called an "intestacy" statute. When an individual dies without a will or other estate planning documents, they are said to die "intestate." The relevant statute will determine who will inherit from their estate and how much.
When an unmarried adult without children dies without a will, their estate is typically distributed to their surviving parent(s). If no parent is still alive, the estate will usually be distributed to the decedent's living siblings in equal part.
Winehouse died unmarried and without children, according to Forbes. Because both of her parents are still alive, the applicable statute says that they split her estate. Her brother is thus left with nothing.
For some, this may seem like a perfectly reasonable way to distribute Amy Winehouse's estate. Others may think it fails to consider her relationship with any friends or family members. Unfortunately, this is what happens when you die without a will. That's why estate planning documents (like a will) are the only way to have control over your assets when you die.