General Question

AshlynM's avatar

If your spouse dies without a will does the surviving spouse get everything?

Asked by AshlynM (6380 points ) February 16th, 2010

is the surviving spouse the next of kin? Do they get everything?

i.e house, belongings

There are no children involved, I think the surviving spouse is also on the house deed, not sure though. Does it matter if they’re name is on the deed?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

9 Answers

ShiningToast's avatar

You get all of their crap. :)

By “You”, I mean you, the spouse of the deceased.

BhacSsylan's avatar

I believe that no will means all possessions go to next of kin, defined as spouse, if no spouse then children, if no children then parents. If no parents then… the state, I think?

as spouse would already get it, i believe the name on the deed is superfluous, but should it not normally go to them, i believe the name on the deed would mean it’s theirs. But, no lawyer am I.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

Just make a will if only to ensure your property and funds don’t get seized by the state after you die.

lilikoi's avatar

I thought that no will means it defaults to state, but I’m not sure.

Judi's avatar

For real estate, it depends on how you hold title and it varies by state. In California, most couples hold title as “joint tenants.” in joint tenancy, the property is transfereed to the remaining title holders upon the death of one.
It also makes a difference if you live in a community property state.
If there is no will, the property could go into probate and a judge would decide who it belongs to.
When my first husband died all we owned was a motorcycle and it was on his name. I took his death certificate and our marriage license to the DMV and they did a Transfer without probate.”
I guess the only real answer is, “it depends,”

davidbetterman's avatar

It is referred to as dying intestate.

When a person dies without having a valid will in place, his or her property passes by what is called “intestate succession” to heirs according to state law. In other words, if you don’t have a will, the state will make one for you. All fifty states have laws (or “statutes”) of this kind on the books. his or her property passes by what is called “intestate succession” to heirs according to state law. In other words, if you don’t have a will, the state will make one for you. All fifty states have laws (or “statutes”) of this kind on the books.”
The purpose of intestate succession statutes is to distribute the decedent’s wealth in a manner that closely represents how the average person would have designed his or her estate plan, had that person had a will. However, this default can differ dramatically from what the person really would have wanted. Even where it is known what the person intended, no exceptions are made where no valid will exists. Nor are there any exceptions made based on need or special circumstances.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

A lot depends on where you live. In a state with community property laws, you will have certain rights as a spouse that don’t depend on probate. It is complicated. However things work out, it’s always harder to effect the transfer of property without a will. A probate judge has to sort it all out, and that can take months or even years. People are still after Howard Hughes’s fortune AFAIK. Bottom line: get a will made even if you expect to live a long time. Even if you don’t have a lot of property, the will can direct how your final expenses are to be paid.

thriftymaid's avatar

It depends on the state in which you live; it’s statutory and not hard to research. Find your state’s statutes and search for intestate succession. Everything that was not owned jointly with survivorship will be part of the estate.

john65pennington's avatar

Judi, great answer. john

Answer this question

Login

or

Join

to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
or
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther