Intestate law is applicable when a person dies without leaving behind a will for inheritance of property. The intestacy law is used as a guideline of property distribution of the deceased. Intestate is a person who dies before preparing the will that indicates how his/her property should be shared to his/her closest people who are left behind. Intestate law lists the people who are entitled to property on inheritance of a deceased in case where a will was not drafted by the deceased. The hierarchy is followed according to the relationship of the deceased with the people who stand to inherit the property. During the division of the property, two tools are used to divide the property which includes per stripe and per capita. These tools are necessary when the number of people entitled to inheritance is huge. Below is how the hierarchy is followed.
The first on the hierarchy is the spouse of the deceased who has the right to get a share of the estate if not all of it. A spouse can get a piece of estate or inherit the whole estate depending on whether the deceased left behind children. In the case where no child was left behind, the spouse is entitled to inherit the whole estate without caring if there are other relatives left behind. The spouse is only entitled to the inheritance of the deceased if he/she was legally married to the deceased. Click here for more info.
The second on the intestate hierarchy are children of the deceased. Estate left behind by the deceased is distributed in equal portion to all the children in case there is no spouse. In case there is a spouse, the distribution rules changes. Depending on the size of the estate, a spouse is given a certain percentage of the estate and the remaining percentage distributed equally to all the children. It is important to know that deceased adopted children are taken as the biological children. According to the intestate law, children are not supposed to inherit the debt of their deceased parent and therefore the assets inherited by the children cannot be used to settle the debts. The probate court under intestate law has the right to picking a suitable guardian for the deceased’s small kids.
The third on the intestate hierarchy are parents and siblings of the deceased person. In case there is no recognized spouse, children or grandchildren, parents, and sibling are considered to be suitable property inheritors. Under this bracket, parents are considered first and if there are no parents, automatically the siblings become the inheritors.
However, if the above people are absent, then distant relatives are considered the right inheritors. Distant relatives include cousins, grandparents, aunts and uncles who may share the property equally among themselves.