If a person dies in North Carolina without a will, his or her family may be confused about what will happen next. A trusts and estate attorney in Broadway North Carolina can explain what happens in this situation. As a trusts and estate attorney in Broadway North Carolina can explain, much of what occurs is based on the state’s laws of intestate succession.
Intestate succession means; who has the legal right to inherit when the decedent had no valid will and to what extent they stand to inherit. The inheritance is based on the estate assets at the time of death. The portion that heirs are entitled do depends on the identity of remaining survivors. For example, if the decedent had children but was unmarried at the time of death, the children inherit everything. The surviving spouse inherits everything if the decedent had no children, parents or descendants. If the decedent had one surviving child or dependent, the surviving spouse would inherit half of the real estate owned by the decedent and a portion of his or her personal property. The surviving child would inherit the remainder. If a person dies with only a spouse and parents surviving him or her, the spouse receives half of the real estate and a portion of the personal property; the parents receive the remaining half of real estate and portion of personal property.
This inheritance only includes amounts owned by the estate at the time of death. Therefore, funds in a trust are not subject to division in the manner described above. Similarly, life insurance proceeds that do not name the estate as the beneficiary are not included. A trusts and estates attorney can work with clients in order to help them avoid the unnecessary and unwanted results of intestate succession.