Understanding Some Facts About Relatives And Inheritance If There Is No Will


If a relative of yours has recently passed away, then you may be concerned about their property. This may be especially troubling if there was no will. One of your biggest concerns may be with the real estate property that was left behind by your loved one. If you are worried about this, then things may be particularly confusing if you have a large family. Keep reading if you want to learn about a few people who may or may not be eligible to inherit.

All Children Can Likely Inherit

When it comes to an individual's children, all kids are likely to inherit a portion of an estate. Biological children can legally inherit. However, this is not the case if the child was adopted by an unrelated individual. Adoption severs the legal connection between the parent and the child. The child has no right to collect inheritance from the biological parent, and the parent cannot inherit from the child either. While this is true, a child may be able to inherit property if the biological parent did not legally abandon their child.

For example, if the mother did not inform the father of the child, then they may be able to inherit property. If the child was adopted by another non-related adult, then this may or may not leave the child ineligible. The court will often decide this. The child will need to contest the probate process. The good news is that this can only happen for a short period of time once your loved one passes away. In many states, family members only have two years to challenge the probate process and to become a recipient of the estate. 

Children born after a parent dies are eligible to inherit property. However, stepchildren are rarely able to inherit property and neither are foster children. 

While it is true that the law is mostly clear about inheritance, that children are allowed to challenge the probate and estate process if they feel that they are owed an inheritance. This can slow down the probate process and drag it out for several years. 

Surviving Spouses Are Eligible

When it comes to married couples, the surviving spouse of the deceased is eligible to receive an inheritance. In most cases, the legally married spouse will receive the majority of the inheritance. 

While it may seem clear who is or is not the spouse, there are some situations that can complicate the situation. For example, if your family member was separated or going through a divorce, then the situation will need to be examined. A judge will typically need to decide, based on the relationship and available evidence of the dissolution of the marriage, whether or not the spouse is eligible for inheritance or not. 

If your loved one was not officially married, but lived with a partner for many years, then a common law marriage may apply. Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Texas, and Utah all allow common law marriage. This means that your loved one's partner will have the same right to property as one who they were married to. 

Same sex partners who are married may also be eligible for an inheritance. However, this depends on the state. There is also some confusion about this since same-sex marriage is a relatively new legal concept in the United States, so this may not be as cut and dry as it may initially seem.

Probate, estate, and real estate attorneys can all offer assistance if you are concerned about a loved one's estate. While the laws may not always be clear, an attorney from a place like Leon J Teichner & Associates, P.C. can help to make sure that everyone who deserves and inheritance from your loved one gets what they are owed. 


16 May 2017

File Chapter 7, and Keep Your Home

Many people assume that when they file Chapter 7 bankruptcy, they will have to give up their homes and other property. This is not necessarily the case. I am a bankruptcy attorney, and I have helped many clients file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy without giving up homes, cars, and other property. When you file for bankruptcy, the property you are allowed to keep depends on your individual circumstances and the state where you live. Most states allow exemption for property you are currently paying for. This blog will guide you through that information and help you determine if filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the right choice for you.