When a family member dies without a will, it is important to apply the intestacy laws. Intestacy is defined as the law that defines the rules of distributing the property of a deceased who did not leave a will for his/her property. 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. Therefore in order to fairly divide the left behind property, intestate law is applied which indicates the hierarchy of people who should inherit the property. The intestate lists and the people who are entitled to inherit the property and at the same time defines how these people are related to the deceased. Per capita and per stripe are some of the tools that are employed during the division of the property of the deceased to the large numerous relatives. The only time the per capita and the per stripe tools are used is when the property is divided to many people who are entitled to inheritance. The following hierarchy is clearly elaborated by the intestate law.
On top of the hierarchy is the spouse who is entitled to inherit an estate that is left behind by the deceased. It is important to note that if the deceased had an estate, the spouse is the right person to inherit it. If the deceased did not have any kid, the spouse inherits the whole of the estate with the exclusion of relatives. Intestate law clearly defines that the legitimate spouse is the one who wed with the deceased and has a certificate of marriage. There are a few jurisdictions where common law marriage which states that if you stay with your partner for a particular period of time you become spouses.
Children follow the spouse on the hierarchy of the intestate law. In cases where there is no existing spouse, the estate is subdivided equally to all children. In case there is a spouse, the distribution rules changes. The spouse is given a particular percentage of the estate depending on the size and the remaining is equally shared among the children. The adopted children are also given equal share because they are considered as the biological children of the deceased. Intestate clearly states that children will not inherit the debt left behind by their parent. 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. This hierarchy is arrived at if deceased did not leave behind children, spouse or grandchildren. On this level of the hierarchy, parents are given the first priority and if the parents are not around, siblings are then picked to be inheritors.
The third on the intestate hierarchy are distant relatives and this happens only if the deceased do not have an existing spouse, children, siblings or any descendant. Cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents are some of the distant relatives.