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If you are an intestate heir, you might have options

On Behalf of | Feb 14, 2018 | Estate Administration |

If you have a close relative, such as your mother or father, who has recently passed away in the Torrance area, you may be able to claim that you are one of the heirs to the property in the estate. If your relative died without leaving a will, you might still be able to inherit. Simply because a relative does not have a valid will does not mean that you do not have a claim on one’s property.

However, things can get murky when there is no Last Will and Testament. In cases like these, were the decedent is intestate, it usually falls to the state where the property is located to decide who gets to inherit. In other cases, it is the state where the decedent lived at the time of death. As you can imagine, dealing with such an estate can be extremely complicated.

Who can inherit?

In an intestate succession situation, the right to inherit usually falls to the next of kin first and then trickles down to other people who may have a claim. For instance, if the decedent has a living spouse, then he or she will typically receive half of the estate. In cases where there are no living children or grandchildren, the spouse might receive the entire estate. After spouses, living children and grandchildren, the next in line to inherit are usually parents, siblings and then other members of the extended family. In general, unmarried partners, friends and charities are not heirs in the eyes of the court and will not inherit.

What can you inherit?

If you are an heir, you can typically only inherit property that is from the probate estate. This is any property that does not automatically passed to a listed beneficiary, such as one named on a retirement account or life insurance policy. Therefore, if everything the decedent owns has another person’s name on the title as a co-owner or a listed beneficiary, then it is possible that you will not inherit anything.

If you are an intestate heir and think that you have a right to certain property of the decedent, you might be able to claim it. However, you may have to take legal action and fight for your rights in court.