Who gets assets when someone dies without a Will?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Who gets assets when someone dies without a Will?

My mother died 35 years ago and left custody of me and my sister to her

mother, my grandmother. She also left a large life insurance policy, death

benefits and money to her to help in raising us. She never had to work and

finished paying off my mom’s house and bought the property. She recently passed away with no Will and has a living daughter. Who gets what?

Asked on March 11, 2016 under Estate Planning, Alaska


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

Sorry to hear about your grandmother and your mother.
Since your grandmother died without a Will, the rules of intestate succession determine inheritance.  Intestate means dying without a Will.
Under intestate succession, if your grandmother had a surviving spouse, he inherits her entire estate.  If there wasn't a surviving spouse, your grandmother's estate is divided equally among her surviving children and if there are deceased children who had children (grandchildren), those grandchildren inherit the share of the estate their deceased parent would have inherited had the deceased parent survived.
If your grandmother had three children (the surviving daughter, your mother and the cousin's parent) and your grandmother had no surviving spouse, her estate (including the house) would be divided as follows: 1/3 to the surviving daughter, 1/6 to you, 1/6 to your sister ( 1/6 + 1/6 = 2/6 = 1/3) and 1/3 to your cousin ( if the cousin's parent is deceased).  If the cousin's parent is alive, 1/3 to the cousin's parent and nothing to the cousin.

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.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption