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Understanding Intestacy

If you die and do not have a will, your assets are distributed under your state’s intestate succession law. The law was created so that assets are distributed in a manner that is closely aligned with what most people would want had they created a will for themselves. It generally means that assets are given to family members in order of succession, such as the surviving spouse, children, parents, siblings and so on. If a person has no relatives that can be found, the assets go to the state. That is a rare occurrence because someone, even a distant cousin, can often be found. Our probate lawyer in Cary NC is here to discuss more below. 

Intestacy | Probate Lawyer Cary NC

The laws for each state vary, so let’s take a look at the intestate succession law for North Carolina. First, keep in mind that the assets that are distributed are only things that would have been passed on through a will, or property that is in your name only. There are some things, such as life insurance policies and money in retirement accounts, that are not affected by the intestate succession law because they require that you name a beneficiary. The person named on those documents is who will receive them. In addition, property in a living trust and property you own with someone else is not affected by the law. A probate lawyer in Cary NC can help you better understand this if you need more information.
Here is how the intestate succession law works in North Carolina:

  • If you have a spouse and no children or parents, the surviving spouse gets everything.
  • If you have parents but no spouse or children, the parents will inherit everything.
  • If your parents are still alive, then the spouse gets half of any real estate and a portion of any other personal property. The surviving parent or parents would receive half of the real estate and the remainder of the other personal assets.
  • If you have children but no spouse, they will inherit everything.
  • If you have a spouse and one child, then the spouse gets half of the real estate and a portion of personal property and the child gets the other half of the real estate plus the remainder of personal property after the spouse gets his or her portion.

To learn more, visit back with our next blog post. We will offer more information there. If you don’t have an estate plan in place or haven’t reviewed yours in several years, now might be the best time to start. Our probate lawyer in Cary NC is here to help you get your estate planning in order and ready should you pass in an untimely manner or become incapacitated at some point. It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to an estate plan. Contact our office.
As always, feel free to contact us at our office to schedule a consultation with if you are looking for a lawyer to represent you in other legal matters. We are here to assist you with small business needs, trademarking, copyrighting and  DWI issues.

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