What assets is my son entitlted to if his father died without a Will?

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What assets is my son entitlted to if his father died without a Will?

My son’s father died last week; my son is the only child and is 3 years old. His father didn’t have any Will. He did have a 401k, 2 life insurance policies and a bank account. Will my child be entitled to that since he is the only child? Also, he has a truck that is paid for. Who will be entilted to that if he doesn’t have a Will? How I should proceed?

Asked on October 16, 2012 under Estate Planning, Florida

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Assuming your son's father dies without a Will or trust in place and assuming the father was not married then under the intestacy laws of all states in this country your son inherits all net assets of his father. I suggest that you consult with a Wills and trust attorney about the matter you have written about.

As to the 401 k, life insurance and bank account(s) the designated beneficiaries on them receive such assets. If there is none, then they go into the father's estate and are subject to an intestacy distribution.

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  If you son's father died with out a Will then that is known as dying "intestate" and the intestacy statutes in his state of residence will apply. If your son is the only heir then it is highly likely that he will inherit all of the estate.  The estate has to be probated meaning that some one has to be appointed as the personal representative in order to gather all the assets and pay all the debts, which has to be done before distribution.  What will probably happen is a trust will be set up for your son for the portion of the estate that goes to him.  Please remember that if the 401K or the insurance policies have designated beneficiaries on a form properly filed then those funds are not part of the estate to pass to your son.  I would strongly suggest speaking with an attorney.  Good luck.


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