When a loved one dies without a last will and testament, it’s not uncommon for them to fail to address their plans for their assets. It’s possible that you got married to someone that was an intestate succession.
You may wonder what will happen to your finances and estate when you die. In some cases, your spouse might fight for their rights to your property. Here’s what you need to know about your rights as surviving spouse.
Understand Intestate Succession Laws
Intestate succession laws prioritize close family members as beneficiaries. As a widower, you will usually have a big claim to the estate, but the details depend on the laws of your jurisdiction.
Many jurisdictions grant a large part of the estate to the surviving spouse. The exact amount varies, but it can range from a fixed sum to a percentage of the estate.
If you have children with your deceased spouse, they may also be entitled to a share of the estate. The distribution of assets among the surviving spouse and children can vary. But, it often ensures that both parties receive a fair part.
If there are no surviving children, the estate might pass to other relatives. The laws of the intestate succession in your jurisdiction will determine the order of priority.
Identify and Locate Assets
Conduct a thorough inventory by creating a comprehensive list of your deceased spouse’s assets. This includes tangible assets as well as intangible assets. Gather all relevant documents related to the assets that prove ownership or indicate the value of the assets.
Organize and maintain all the gathered documentation in a safe and secure manner. This will assist you and your attorney in the probate process and ensure transparency and accuracy when distributing the assets.
Consult With an Attorney
As a widower, it is important to talk to a probate lawyer who specializes in inheritance and estate law. Do some research and choose an estate litigation lawyer who is familiar with the laws in your area.
Schedule a first meeting to discuss your situation. Provide the relevant information and documents about your spouse’s estate.
Seek legal advice during the consultation to understand the intestate succession laws applicable to your case and to clarify your rights as a widower.
Additionally, discuss the attorney’s fees, engagement terms, and estimated costs for their services. You can retain the attorney’s services by signing a contract agreement.
Start Probate Proceedings
Initiating probate proceedings is a crucial step in navigating intestate succession as a widower. Begin by understanding the probate process in your jurisdiction. Determine if it is necessary for your deceased spouse’s estate. If it requires probate, file a petition with the appropriate court to initiate the proceedings.
Nominate an executor or personal representative to administer the estate. Provide notice to interested parties. By engaging in the probate process, you can help the smooth administration of the estate.
Learn More About Intestate Succession Today
The laws of intestate succession are complex, and they may vary depending on your state. It is highly recommended that you speak with an estate lawyer to understand the full scope of the law and your rights as a spouse.
Take the time to review estate planning options that will protect you and your loved ones. Always remember to seek professional assistance to ensure you make the best decisions.
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