When someone dies without a will, their property passes to heirs by intestate succession. In simpler terms, if a person lacks a will, the state makes one for them. The purpose of these laws is to distribute a decedent’s wealth in a way that represents the average person’s estate plan, but the results can be drastically different from a person’s real desires. A Probate Lawyer in Timonium MD can ensure that a person’s will reflects his or her wishes accurately.
The Uniform Probate Code of 1990
This code provides the basis on which many states’ laws are performed. While these laws vary widely, the Code is the best starting point for general discussions. Here, close relatives get first access to a decedent’s wealth, but if a person has no living relatives, his or her property goes to the state by default.
The Surviving Spouse’s Share
Under the Code, surviving spouses can receive the entire estate after taxes or a significant portion of it. For instance:
- A surviving spouse can get the entire estate if the decedent is survived by children who are biologically related to both parties.
Surviving spouses are entitled to the decedent’s net estate if they’re not survived by parents or descendants.
If parents are still living but no other descendants are alive, surviving spouses take the portion of the net estate plus a percentage of anything over the state’s predetermined amount.
According to the Code, if there’s no spouse but there are surviving descendants, those people take the whole estate via the right of representation.
The Code states that if a decedent has no surviving descendants or a spouse, the entirety of the net estate is divided between the parents or it goes to the sole survivor.
If a decedent has no surviving parents, descendants or spouse, the estate passes to his or her siblings. In cases where a decedent was an only child, the estate goes to his or her grandparents.
Get Matched With a Local Attorney
The probate code is so complex that most people find it overwhelming, and many are afraid of the consequences of dying intestate (without a will). If someone is concerned that a disliked family member will get his or her assets, they can talk to a Probate Lawyer in Timonium MD. Call today to speak to Maria Caruso or to schedule an in-person meeting. You can also visit them on Facebook.