What happens when someone dies without a Will?

Asked on July 14, 2015 under Estate Planning, California


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

When someone dies without a Will, they are said to have died "intestate". This means that the intestacy (or succession) laws of the state in which the deceased was domiciled as of the date of their death will control. Typically, in this situation, an estate is divided 1/2-1/3 to the survivng spouse, if any, and the rest evenly split among the children of the deaceased. However, a probate of the estate has to first be opened with the court and the it will have to appoint a personal representaive (like an executor when there is a Will), who will adMinster estate matters, including making the appropriate distribution of assets to the heirs after first paying of all creditors.

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