The property of a deceased person with no family goes to the beneficiaries in his will, but if he dies without a will, his property has the chance of ending up in the hands of the government, according to Nolo. However, in many states, laws are designed to prevent this from occurring.
In many cases, assets already have a designated beneficiary, even if the deceased is single and has no relatives, explains Nolo. Any property in a living trust, funds in a retirement account such as a 401(k) or IRA, life insurance proceeds or jointly owned property already has a designated beneficiary who receives the property upon the principal's death.
Any assets not already attached to beneficiaries have the possibility of going to the state in a process known as "escheating" into the state treasury, states Nolo. However, even if the deceased party has cousins, those people get the property before the state. With no relatives and no designation in a will, the property of a deceased person goes to the government. The best way to avoid this is to draw up a will to ensure the property goes to a person or entity the principal prefers over having the state end up with the proceeds.