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What is intestacy?

On Behalf of | Aug 24, 2017 | Probate & Estate Administration |

When Massachusetts families are faced with the passing of a loved one, you’ll soon discover that there’s an entire world of complex legalities behind it. Even when dealing with the emotional traumas of a death, these issues will still need to be tended to.

One term you may run into is “intestacy”. The Cambridge dictionary defines intestacy as a situation relating to the estate of the bereaved, in which they did not legally decide how their assets would be divided or managed. If your loved one was not able to make a binding declaration or a valid will before passing, you will be handling a case of intestacy.

In situations like this, it can be tough on surviving family because no one knows what to do with the property. Without a will to turn to, the estate will have to be divided using different means. Generally speaking, common law will dictate that the property is divided based on the law of descent. This means the spouse will get the first part, with children and descendants getting anything that follows. 

For those who lacked descendants, you will go up the family tree instead. You may divide the estate among siblings, parents, or other surviving relatives as far back as need be.

Laws relating to intestacy may differ from state to state. If you are dealing with intestacy, it’s important for you to understand the laws in your area regarding this matter. This way, you can divide up any assets as smoothly as possible.