If an individual does not have a will, state law identifies who stands to inherit his/her property. These laws are described laws as intestate succession. Every state has a series of laws in place to deal with this frequently typical situation. Individuals who do not like the way that the state disperses their property can utilize the details as a cautionary tale and as a reward to speak with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney to create a will.

When Intestate Succession Laws Apply

Intestate succession laws mainly use when the decedent did not have a will. It may use in other scenarios, too. If the will is lost or declared void, these rules might apply. If there is property that is not defined in the will and no residuary clause, these laws might likewise use. These laws may also apply if a provision is not legitimate or is not abided by such as when interested parties sign the will.

Uniform Probate Code

Many states have adopted the Uniform Probate Code. Nevertheless, some states have actually only adopted certain portions of this code, while others have not adopted it at all. For the states that have embraced it, the Uniform Probate Code specifies that any property that is not dealt with in a will passes through intestate succession. This property is distributed in a specific order and in a certain quantity. The property first goes to a spouse for the preliminary share, then to the decedent’s kids or descendants. If the decedent had no descendants or partner, his/her property goes to his/her parents. If both moms and dads predeceased him or her, the property goes to the decedent’s siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles, any descendants of these individuals, or lastly to the decedent’s great-grandparents. If none of these family members are living the property goes to the state.

State Laws

States that have not embraced the Uniform Probate Code have their own system for intestate succession. Many are similar to the system utilized under the Uniform Probate Code. Some have important differences. For instance, some states base the enduring spouse’s share on the length of time that the couple was married. Some states offer different shares for the making it through spouse, often in between one-third to one-half.


A couple of states still use dower and curtesy principles. These laws provide additional defense for enduring partners. A better half’s property rights in this circumstance are often referred to as dower while the other half’s are called curtesy. These rights have precedence over other property rights, consisting of the rights of other beneficiaries and creditors. After dower and curtesy have been offered, the staying property passes based upon intestate succession.

Homestead Protections

Homestead protections provide security for an enduring partner and a decedent’s children that avoid financial institutions from taking the home after a decedent’s death so that the survivors will not be dislocated.

Elective Share

States normally do not enable a spouse to disinherit another partner. The making it through spouse generally has the capability to elect to take against the decedent’s will whatever was left for him or her or to take the amount that would be due to him or her by the laws of intestacy.