Answers To Common Questions About Probate Law And Inheritance Rights When Your Loved One Has Passed Away Without A Will


Although most people know how important and useful it is to have a will to declare your intentions as to the dispersal of your estate, recent research determined that almost two out of three persons didn't have a will and more than one out of four people reported that creating a will wasn't urgent to them. Unfortunately, since few people can predict the exact time and date of their death, that lack of foresight means that the estates of many deceased individuals may be held by the state, in probate, for a significant period of time. If your loved one died without a will and you are unsure as to how the assets owned by that person will be distributed, getting the answers to the questions shared below will be quite useful.

 Won't The Spouse Get Everything Anyway?

One common misconception about probate law, especially when real estate is involved, has often been the belief that the spouse gets everything and he or she can then determine what should be done with it. That situation is useless if both spouses pass away at or near the same time. The same is true if one spouse doesn't survive an awful experience and the other spouse does, but isn't in a position to manage the state or make legally binding decisions. 

Since many variables can influence the dispersal of an estate, your best option is to immediately speak with a probate attorney who is licensed in the state that your loved one passed away in. He or she will be able to give you the details as to what the pertinent laws are in that state for inheriting and advice you of what you must do to enforce your rights. Time limits may apply, so delaying your endeavor could easily backfire.

If It's Not Always And Exclusively The Spouse, Who Else Might Inherit?

The truth is that although there isn't a one-size-fits-all approach to the details of probate law and each state has their own guidelines as to its use, the spouse and any minor children will often be awarded property and other assets of the estate. Adult children may also lay claim to part or all of the estate in question, as could anyone who can prove that a debt was owed to them at that time.

Fighting over an estate costs time and money, so the best plan for you is to speak with a probate law attorney, and advise other family members or possible claimants to do the same. Doing so permits you to have reasonable expectations as to the outcome of your probate case. 

In conclusion, probate law can vary tremendously from one state to another and it can take some time to settle the issue of probate, especially if possible inheritors are fighting over the assets or if the estate is quite large. Therefore, it will behoove you to consider the above information when you're unsure as to the specificity of probate law and how it might impact your right to inherit. 


16 May 2017