How Your Assets Will be Distributed if You Die Intestate

If a person dies without a will, he or she is considered to have died intestate. This leaves it up to the state to decide who will get what and this can be a long drawn-out process. The intestacy laws of the state where the person lived determine how to distribute the assets owned by the person upon his death. Assets include real estate, bank accounts, securities, property, and other assets.

If the person owned real estate in some other state than where he lived, the intestacy law of that particular state will handle the estate. In most cases, the heirs of the deceased receives the assets. However, the laws of intestate succession vary depending on whether the person was single, married, or had children. In such cases, the deceased’s surviving spouse, children, siblings, and other relatives will receive divided assets. In cases with no relatives, the the state takes over the assets.

Let’s take a look at the most likely outcome of asset distribution when the deceased dies intestate.

  1. Single with Children

If the deceased was single but had children, the children will receive equal shares of the assets owned by him. If the child departed this life too but had children, the grandchildren will receive the deceased’s share.

2. Single with No Children

If the deceased was single, living parents will receive the divided property. Otherwise, surviving parent and the siblings of the deceased will receive the divided assets. Without surviving parents, then the siblings receive equal parts of the entire estate. Without parents, siblings, nieces and nephews, then the relatives on the mother’s side inherit one-half of the assets, and the other half given to the relatives on the father’s side.

3. Married with Children

If the deceased was married with children, surviving spouse receives the assets, assuming that all the children of the person were from the surviving spouse. If the person had children from another partner, the surviving spouse gets up to one-half of the estate, while the surviving children of the other partner will receive the rest.

4. Married with No Children

In this case, the entire estate goes to the surviving spouse if it’s community property. If it’s separate property, however, the surviving partner, parents, and siblings will split the assets.

5. Domestic Partner

Not all states recognize domestic partnerships. Therefore, intestacy laws may vary in the case of domestic partners. Usually in the case of a domestic partnership, if a partner dies without a will and survived by a domestic partner, he/she inherits the same as a surviving spouse, depending on how the property was owned. However, since state laws vary, check the estate planning laws of the particular state where the deceased lived.

6. Unmarried Couple

If a partner dies without a will while living with a partner with whom he did not solemnize marriage, the relatives will receive divided assets. Intestacy laws do not recognize unmarried couples. Thus, only relatives can inherit the estate of the decedent.

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Disclaimer: The author, the publisher and the vendor of these forms makes no representations or warranties regarding the outcome or the use to which these forms are put and are not assuming any liability for any claims, losses, or damages arising out of the use of these forms. The user should not rely on the author or the publisher of these forms for any professional advice. Always consult with a lawyer regarding the rules and regulations governing your residing state/province. The information provided is for illustrative purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact an attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issues and concerns related to the drafting of wills and other legal documents. Remember that individual situations and estate planning needs differ, and this Kit may not be suitable for your specific circumstances. Kit may vary upon receipt.
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