If you have a loved one who recently passed away in Wakefield, then you and others who were close to them may be justly concerned about how their estates will be handled. Given a majority of American adults do not have a will, then there is a strong possibility that no provisions are in place dictating how your deceased family member or friend’s assets are to be distributed. Many come to us here at the in the same situation thinking that when one dies without a will, their descendants are free to determine how their estate is to be handled. Unfortunately, that is not the case.
When one dies without a will, they are classified as “intestate.” Massachusetts’ intestate succession guidelines can be found in Chapter 190B Article II of the state’s General Laws. Here, it states that is you are the surviving spouse of an intestate decedent, you are entitled to all of their estate if they have no surviving descendants, or if their descendants are also your children (or grandchildren). If your deceased spouse has no descendants but is survived by their parents, you are entitled to the first $200,000 of their estate plus 75 percent of the remaining balance. That amount reduces to the first $100,000 plus 50 percent of the gross estate if either you or your deceased spouse has descendants that are not related to you both.
If, on the other hand, your recently deceased loved one was not married, the order of succession of their intestate estate would be as follows:
- Their descendants
- Their parents
- Their siblings
- Their next of kin
If no such parties exist, their intestate estate passes to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. More information on estate administration can found throughout our site.