How to Go about Settling an Estate in Absence of Will?


If you are in the process of settling inheritance of a deceased individual who did not leave any will, you certainly have a plenty of questions that are still unanswered related to how the inheritance will be distributed. To begin with, it is very important to understand that there are different types of assets that are not always passed through will. Let us take a look at what those things are:

  • Bank accounts, real estate, community property that comes with survivorship right, tenancy by the entirety.
  • Funds in retirement plan, 401(k) or IRA for which there was a named beneficiary
  • Securities or stocks that are held in TOD account
  • Proceeds of life insurance
  • Property in living trust
  • Funds secured in POD bank account
  • Vehicles or real estate with a title account or TOD account.

To actually understand who gets to inherit all these types of property, you need to go through the documents that contain the information of beneficiary designation or co-ownership. In order to find out who gets to inherit the rest of the assets you may need to consult state law. Usually these kinds of properties are like a house, for which no beneficiary is formally appointed. Inheritance loan is again something that is very tricky when it is about getting passed on from one generation to another.

In cases where there is no will documented to name any executor, a list is provided by state law that contains the list of people who may be eligible for filling the role. If an inheritance probate court proceeding becomes a necessity, the court goes ahead and chooses someone based on priority. Most of these courts make the registered domestic partner or surviving spouse the first and obvious choice. Next on this list are the adult children who are followed by other members of the family.

Every state in the country has their own set of laws that guide what happens with the properties left by someone who died without leaving behind a will. Usually, it is the registered domestic partners, blood relatives, and spouses inherit properties as per intestate succession laws, whereas friends, charities and unmarried partners don’t get anything. If the person who died was married then it is the spouse who usually gets the biggest share and in cases when there are no children then spouse gets almost all the inheritance. Distant relatives have some chances of inheriting some parts only in cases when there is no spouse or children left behind. In rare cases where there is no one to inherit it is the state that takes the assets.

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If you find yourself caught in legal tussle concerning an inheritance probate you can contact Advance Inheritance LLC. The company also helps you deal with inheritance loan and other complications involved.