If my husband and I die, does our child automatically inherit?

UPDATED: Jun 16, 2011

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If my husband and I die, does our child automatically inherit?

My husband and I have one 21 year old child; we have no Will. If we both die, would she automatically get everything (property, life insurance, etc)?

Asked on June 16, 2011 under Estate Planning, Iowa


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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If someone dies without a Will they die "intestate". This means that the laws of the state that they were domiciled in at the date of their death will control the distribution of their estate. Typically, 1/3 goes to the surviving spouse and 2/3 to the children. So, for example, if you pre-deceased your husband he would get approximately 1/3 of your estate and your daughter would get 2/3. Upon your husband's passing your daughter would get all ofhis assets unless he re-married, in which event his spouse would get 1/3 of his estate (or whatever he left his wife in a Will if he has one at that time) and her daughter would get the remaining 2/3.

As for the insurance, whoever is listed as the beneficiary would get it. If you name your estate , then the proceeds would have to be included in your estate. For many reasons this is not optimal. You should really list a person(s) as the designated beneficiary.

Right now might be a good time to sit down with an estate planning attorney and go over your best options. This can be a very complicated area of the law and you want to make sure your estate is distributed as you would like.

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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