The 2023 Report on the Worst States to Die Without a Will reveals New York, Alaska, and Georgia are the riskiest states to die without a will or estate plan, while Iowa, Illinois, and Kansas are among the least risky states.

CHARLOTTE, NC; August 1, 2023 –, a leading senior living referral service and the nation’s top site for senior care reviews, has published a new report that examines Americans’ understanding of what happens if they die intestate, or without a will or estate plan in place. The report also highlights which states have the slowest and most complex probate processes. 

The report compiled responses from a survey of 1,500 American adults, with 34.5 percent admitting they ‘have no idea what will happen if [they] die without an estate plan in place.’ In fact, over 1 in 3 respondents mistakenly believe their family members will automatically inherit their assets without an estate plan. Furthermore, more than half of all respondents say they ‘never thought about’ or were not aware of ‘state-specific rules relating to custody and asset distribution.’ partnered with GoodTrust’s team of estate planning experts to extensively research the laws and regulations related to the probate process, guardianship and assets in all 50 states. With the information and metrics gathered, they ranked the worst states to die without a will, which includes New York, Alaska, Georgia, Tennessee, Ohio, Wyoming, Alabama, New Mexico, and Maryland.  

“Unfortunately, the data shows that most Americans do not fully appreciate the consequences of dying without an estate plan and the burden it leaves to others,” says Daniel Sieberg, co-founder of GoodTrust. “After someone dies, their loved ones may face a protracted and complicated probate process. While anyone who doesn’t have an estate plan exposes their heirs to serious risk, those in certain states like New York and Alaska should be extra motivated to engage in estate planning sooner rather than later. It’s never too late to get started.”

Regardless of the state of residence, having an estate plan can provide protection for assets and dependents, while also avoiding the complications that can arise from navigating state laws. When someone passes away without a will, the probate process can become lengthy and burdensome in certain states, potentially leading to court-appointed guardianships that may not align with the deceased’s preferred choices for their children or dependents. Furthermore, the absence of a will can impact the distribution of assets, causing delays or even limitations on access to inheritances for certain beneficiaries, such as children who may have to wait until a specific age to receive their inheritance. Additionally, without a proper estate plan, domestic partners may not have a legal entitlement to any assets.

In partnership with the platform Pollfish, and GoodTrust surveyed 1,500 American adults to find out if they fully understand the possible ramifications of dying without a will or estate plan. All respondents were over the age of 18 and said they ‘did not have’ or ‘did not know whether they had’ estate planning documents. The survey was conducted online, and fieldwork was undertaken between June 16 and June 19, 2023. To review survey results, infographics, and estate planning basics, please visit:

With millions of website visitors, is a leading senior living referral service and the nation’s top site for senior care reviews. Founded in 2007, Caring’s mission is to help as many seniors and their caregivers as possible through empathetic, expert guidance. Applying cutting-edge technology to this humane mission, Caring provides relevant senior care information and support, as well as comprehensive senior living and senior care directories for the United States, including more than 350,000 consumer reviews. Through a toll-free referral line at (877) 630-3480, Caring’s trustworthy, nationwide team of Family Advisors — who are among the most highly trained, highly skilled, and knowledgeable experts in senior care — helps seniors and their families research and connect to the most appropriate services and support for their specific situations. For more information about our organization and our free services for seniors and their families, please visit and join with Caring on Facebook.


GoodTrust is a smart online estate planning solution that empowers individuals to secure and preserve their assets and protect their minor children with legal documents crafted by leading attorneys. GoodTrust’s mission is to democratize estate planning through the use of technology by providing the tools necessary to protect your legacy, affordably. Additionally, GoodTrust offers a user-friendly interface that enables members to create, organize, and securely store their digital assets, including social media accounts, cryptocurrency wallets, digital documents, online subscriptions, and more. By utilizing advanced encryption and security protocols, GoodTrust ensures that personal information and sensitive data are safeguarded against unauthorized access. For more information about GoodTrust, please visit