If someone dies without a Will who inherits?

UPDATED: Sep 6, 2011

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If someone dies without a Will who inherits?

No spouse or children and the parents are deceased. There are siblings one of whom is deceased. Is the deceased sibling’s children entitled to their deceased parent’s share?

Asked on September 6, 2011 under Estate Planning, Alabama


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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

When someone dies without a Will they are said to have died "intestate". This means that the laws of the state in which they were domiciled as of the date of their death will control. Typically, in the case in which a person leaves no surviving spouse or descendants (i.e. children), then their estate passes to their siblings. To the extent that a sibling dies first (i.e. before the intestate individual) then their share passes to their children (i.e. the intestate's niece(s) and/or nephew(s)).

The dead sibling's children are entitled to their deceased parent's share. So for example if the intestate individual left 3 sisters, 1 of whom predeceased them, then 1 sister would receive 1/3 of the estate; the other sister would receive another 1/3, and the remaining 1/3 would be split among the dead siblings children equally.

This is just a general overview. At this point you should consult directly with a probate attorney in your area as to the specifics of your case.

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 AttorneyPages.com 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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