If a person doesn’t have a Will when they die and they only have one child and no spouse, does the estate automatically go to the child?

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If a person doesn’t have a Will when they die and they only have one child and no spouse, does the estate automatically go to the child?

Asked on November 13, 2011 under Estate Planning, Ohio

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

When someone dies without a Will they are said to have died "intestate". According the intestacy statutes(i.e. succession laws) of the state in which they were domiciled in at the date of their death will control. Typically in such a situation, if a person dies without a surviving spouse, their estate then goes in total to their children (biological or adopted).

In such a case, the child will have to still go through the formalitiesof probate (unless a small estate proceeding or affidavit is applicable) but in the end will inherit what assets are left after all creditors claims, if any, are satisfied. For more information you can contact the probate court in the county in which the deceased died.


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