Can You Get Inheritance Without A Will

can you get inheritance without a will and testament

Succession without a will can be challenging. Fortunately, you can still get your inheritance even if there was no will. 

If someone dies without a will, it means they have died in "intestate". Succession in such cases is determined by the intestacy laws of the state where you reside. If the person had property in different states, accessing such assets depends on the laws governing inheritance in the specific states. Also, intestate succession laws vary greatly depending on whether the person was married, single, or had children. 

What Happens? 

Death without a will presents many problems to dependents. In most states, the wealth is distributed in split shares to the different heirs. This includes the surviving spouse, children, parents, siblings, and other legal dependents. Only legally registered spouses and blood relatives can inherit the wealth under intestate succession laws if one dies without a will. 

The surviving spouse gets the lion's share of the property. If the person had no children, the surviving spouse receives all the property. Also, if no children or surviving spouse is alive, distant relatives can take over the assets. In case the individual had no relatives, the state takes over the property. 

States have laws barring specific people from inheriting the property if they behaved badly towards the dead person. For example, if someone is criminally responsible for the individual's death, the state cannot allow them to benefit from their assets. Also, most states will not allow parents who didn't support a child, abandoned them, or committed any offense against the child to inherit their assets. Let's see how you can inherit property without a will under different circumstances. 

If You're Single 

If you're single, without kids, and die with no will, most intestate inheritance laws dictate that your parents will inherit your assets. If you had debts, such as a student loan, the assets could be used to clear off the debt. Also, if one of your parents is dead, the assets can be distributed among the surviving parent and your siblings. If the person had a pet, the family can decide what happens to it immediately. 

If You're The Spouse 

If you're the surviving spouse to the dead person, you can only access the assets if you were legally married to them when they died. If there was a pending divorce or legal separation before the spouse died, it will be upon a judge to rule whether you can inherit the assets as the surviving spouse. 

In some states, if you lived under common law marriage, which is a case that you never unified via a marriage ceremony, you may be considered to be legally married under specific circumstances. In this case, you must have lived together, or intended to be married, or presented yourself as married to the world. It's vital to check whether your state recognizes common-law marriages and under which specific circumstances. 

Interestingly, same-sex marriages are now considered legal in all states; this means that same-sex spouses, if legally married, enjoy the same rights and responsibilities as other married people. They can qualify as surviving spouses. 

But couples registered as civil union partners or domestic partners don't have the same rights and responsibilities as legally married people. This notwithstanding, some states automatically convert registered domestic partners or civil union partnerships into marriages. This means you can qualify as a surviving spouse depending on your state's laws and the legal status of your relationship with a deceased person. 

If you have any concerns about your relationship, you can contact an attorney knowledgeable about your state's succession laws. 

If You Are The Children 

If you're a child to a person who has died intestate, you will directly inherit their assets if there is no surviving spouse or civil partner. If there is a surviving partner, they are eligible to inherit the exception if it exceeds a specific amount. If you are two or more children to the deceased person and there is no surviving partner, the estate will be equally divided among you. If there was a surviving partner and you are the child, you can only inherit the assets if they exceed a certain value. If you are two or more children, you will inherit in equal shares. 

All children belonging to a person who has died intestate are eligible to inherit their assets, even if the child was from a different relationship. For instance, if Jeffery was married to Grace and they got two children, but he was originally married and divorced and had two other children from a previous relationship, intestacy rules dictate all the children will get an equal share from Jeffrey's assets. 

Also, children from parents who didn't have a registered civil partnership or never married can inherit the estate if the parent died intestate. They can inherit from their grandparents and great- grandparents if they died intestate. Adopted children, such as step-children, are also eligible to inherit the assets under intestacy rules. 

If the child cannot receive their inheritance immediately, say they haven't attained the age of 18, trustees or the surviving spouse can manage the estate on their behalf until they're of age. 

If You Are Other Close Relatives 

Close relatives, such as parents, siblings, nieces, and nephews of an intestate person, may also inherit their assets under certain intestacy laws. This will depend on the following circumstances: 

 If there is a surviving civil or married partner 
 If the person has aged children, grandchildren, or great-grandchildren 
 Nieces and nephews can inherit the estate if their parents are already dead, and they had a relationship with the person who has died intestate 
 The estate's amount 

Also, other distant relatives can inherit the assets if the person was not married, had no children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, siblings, parents, nieces, and nephews. These distant relatives include grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, and half-uncles and half-aunts. 

Who Cannot Inherit? 

The following individuals cannot inherit assets in case someone dies without a will 

 Close friends 
 Unmarried partners 
 Relatives by marriage
 Gay or lesbian partners not in civil partnerships 

Fortunately, if you can't inherit this person's assets under the intestacy rules, you can apply for financial provision from the estate in court if you were a dependent. 

Are You Having Challenges Inheriting Property From a Person Who Died Intestate? 

If you are dependent on a person who has died intestate, inheritance without a will can be challenging. Under such circumstances, it is advisable to seek legal help from attorneys who have experience and skills in dealing with such cases. Contact us today, and we will be more than willing to help you get your rightful share of the deceased's assets. Our Inheritance Dispute Attorneys have the right skills and experience to ensure you get what you deserve.

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