What happens when a parent dies and there is no Will?

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What happens when a parent dies and there is no Will?

There are 3 adult children, of whom one has made financial repairs to the home as new roof, etc. and would like to be reimbursed for those expenses outside of any possible proceeds. On the deceased, there was a delinquent credit card balance and a delinquent bank note under $5,000. What to do, where do we start?

Asked on February 3, 2014 under Estate Planning, Texas

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

Every state has laws that direct what happens to property when someone dies without a valid will and the property was not left in some other way (such as in a living trust). Generally, only spouses, registered domestic partners (in states where that's an option), and blood relatives inherit under intestate succession laws; unmarried partners, friends, and charities get nothing. If the deceased person was married, commonly the surviving spouse gets the largest share. If there are no children, the surviving spouse often receives all the property. More distant relatives inherit only if there is no surviving spouse or children. In the rare event that no relatives at all can be found, the state takes the assets.

All states have rules that bar certain people from inheriting if they behaved badly toward the deceased person. For example, someone who criminally caused the death of the deceased person is almost never allowed to profit from the death. And, in many states, a parent who abandoned or refused to support a child, or committed certain crimes against a child, cannot inherit from that child.

You need to consult with a Wills and trust attorney to set up an intestate filing. Creditors that you have written about can then make a claim for payment of the money that you have written about.


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