If a husband dies unexpectedly without a Will, is his adult child entitled to anything or does it all automatically go to his spouse?

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If a husband dies unexpectedly without a Will, is his adult child entitled to anything or does it all automatically go to his spouse?

Asked on June 12, 2013 under Estate Planning, Minnesota

Answers:

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

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Although laws pertaining to dying "intestate" (i.e. without a will) vary from state to state, distribution of property and assets generally follow a similar pattern. Every state has "succession laws" regarding the distribution of property in such an event. However, the laws follow a formula and might not be what you want or expect (ths is why having a Will is so important).

Typically, when a spouse dies intestate their estate is divided along the lines of 1/3-12 to the surviving spouse and the remainder to the children of the deceased. For the law in your specific state you should consult with an attorney.

Tricia Dwyer / Tricia Dwyer Esq & Associates PLLC

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Hello. In the event that a spouse dies and there is no will, generally the surviving spouse is entitled to the entire estate if all of the decendent's children or grandchildren or further descendents are descendents of the surviving spouse, or if the decedent had no other surviving children, grandchildren or further descendents. There are special rules if the decedent had children apart from the surviving spouse.  Please confer with a private attorney for legal advice, as this website provides only general information and not legal advice. Some attorneys are available seven days for emergency legal needs. Many attorneys will confer initially at no charge. Then, if legal work is performed, some attorneys will provide a reduced fee for financial hardship. Some attorneys may also assist you in limited scope manner to conserve legal costs. All the best.


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