When you die without a will, you die intestate. This often happens when an unexpected death occurs or a life is cut too short. In cases of intestacy, your property, assets, possessions, and everything else you leave behind when you die gets distributed based on the laws of the state in which you live. They do not get distributed as you wish, as they would if you died with a will in place, or testate. In matters of intestate estates, it is always suggested to contact a North Dakota estate-planning attorney to help solve your matter.
Who Gets What When You Die Intestate?
When there is no will to proscribe who gets what in the case of death, the law decides those matters. North Dakota, like all other states, has its own set of intestacy laws, which are complex and detailed. Below are common scenarios:
- If survived by a spouse and children: If the deceased left behind a spouse and children, then the spouse receives the whole estate, but only if all of the children are his or hers. If all of the children are not his or hers, then the surviving spouse will receive $150,000 and half of whatever is left of the estate. The rest of the estate gets split amongst the deceased’s children. If the deceased’s child has died, but the deceased has grandchildren, then they get their dead parent’s share of the estate.
- If survived by a spouse, but no children: The spouse will get the whole estate, but only if the deceased’s parents are not alive. If, at the time of death, the parents are still alive, then the spouse gets $300,000 and three quarters of the estate with the rest going to the parents.
- If survived by children, but no spouse: If the deceased did not have a spouse, then the estate is divided amongst the deceased’s children. If the deceased’s children have also died, but the deceased had grandchildren, then they get the part of the estate that the deceased’s child would have gotten.
- If survived by no one: If the deceased is not survived by anyone, then their estate will be split between the decedent’s parents. If the decedent’s parents are dead then their estate will be split amongst their siblings, if they had any. If their siblings are also dead, then the siblings’ children will get their share. If they have no siblings, then it gets distributed to the rest of the family, like their uncles, aunts, cousins, and grandparents. If they are dead, then it goes to their kids. However, the estate has to be evenly split between the mother’s side of the family and the father’s.
Figuring out the distribution of property, possessions, and assets when someone dies without a will can be difficult and has to be done within the boundaries of the law of that state.
The North Dakota probate attorneys at O’Keeffe O’Brien Lyson Foss are experienced and will guide you through the estate planning process to make sure you have your affairs exactly how you want them. Stephen Welle is an experienced estate planning attorney and will fight for your rights as passionately as you would. Call 701-235-8000 or 877-235-8002 today.
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