What is the law for a spouse who dies with no Will?

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What is the law for a spouse who dies with no Will?

I wanted to know what happens if my husband dies without aW ill. Does everything go to surviving spouse even if it is not in my name? I am joint owner/beneficiary on everything but wanted to understand the law.

Asked on November 9, 2016 under Estate Planning, North Carolina

Answers:

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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

When someone dies without a Will, they are said t have died "intestate". This means that the intestacy laws of the state in which they were domiciled at the time of their death controls. In NC, if a husband dies but has no Will their entire estate is distributed to their a spouse if there are no children; if there are children then the estate partially goes to the children as well. For the exact breakdowns, you can check here:
http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/gascripts/Statutes/StatutesTOC.pl?Chapter=0029
You should be aware that, many valuable assets don't go through probate, so aren’t affected by intestate succession laws. For example:

payable-on-death bank accounts
securities held in transfer-on-death accounts
funds in an IRA, 401(k) or other retirement accounts
property transferred to a living Trust
life insurance proceeds
property owned with someone else in joint tenancy (or tenancy by the entirety).

These assets will pass to the surviving co-owner or named beneficiary.


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