When someone dies without a Will, what claim do the surviving spouse and children have?

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When someone dies without a Will, what claim do the surviving spouse and children have?

Died in NM; property in KS. Property is being transferred. Children have been asked to sign quitclaim. Do they have any right to a share of the proceeds?

Asked on August 16, 2011 New Mexico

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  I am a little confused about the status of your parent's estate here.  And where exactly was your parent's residency at the time of their death? Intestacy laws are written so that when a person dies without a Will the Court has a plan for division of property, so to speak.  States vary on how they divide the intestate's estate when there are a spouse and children left.  In Kansas, for example, the Wife gets 50% of the estate and 50% of the real estate.  The children divide the rest equally.  Here is that statute:

http://www.mystatewill.com/statutes/ks_law.htm

Property held as husband and wife does not go through the estate but it sounds here as if your parent held the property alone, which is why you are being asked to sign a quit claim deed.  But honestly, you should probably not be signing anything without an attorney looking at it.  The whole transaction does not sound right.  Please get help.  Good luck.


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