Does real estate automatically get passed down even without a Will?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Does real estate automatically get passed down even without a Will?

My grandmother passed away without a Will. Her house and property went to her 2 daughters; 1 of whom passed away and had no Will. Does her share of the property automatically go to her husband or does the property belong to the remaining living heir?

Asked on September 14, 2017 under Estate Planning, Virginia


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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

If your grandmother died without a Will, then she died "intestate". This means that state law controls how her assets are distributed. Typically, it is 1/2-1/3 to the surviving spouse, if any, and the rest to the children of the deceased (if no survivng spouse, the children take all). If the deceased daughter, your sister, died without a Will, then her share may go to either you or her sister's children, depending on specific state law. At this point, you should consult with a local attorney you can best advise you further. 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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