One of the many benefits associated with estate planning is that you get to choose who gets your stuff after you are gone. However, that generally only works if you have actually done an estate plan! Someone who passes away without leaving a valid Alabama Will has lost the opportunity to voice their final wishes. Don’t let the state use Alabama intestacy succession to choose your heirs. A simple Will or trust lets you make all the decisions beforehand.
Intestacy and Probate
Someone who dies without leaving a valid Will is called “intestate.” Whether there’s a Will or not, the deceased person’s estate still has to pass through probate in most cases. However, depending on the size of the estate and family circumstances, probating an intestate person’s estate can be more complicated and more expensive when there’s no Will.
And your probate assets will be distributed according to state law, not the way you would have wanted.
Alabama Intestacy Succession Law
Property in an intestate estate pass to heirs based on Alabama law. Two of the factors that determine “who gets what” are:
- Whether the decedent was married, and
- Whether the decedent had any descendants.
Intestacy succession in Alabama provides for the estate’s distribution as follows:
|If decedent is survived by:||Then probate assets pass:|
|a spouse, but no children||entirely to spouse|
|a spouse, no children, parent or parents||first $100,000 to spouse, then one-half of the rest|
|a spouse, children of decedent and spouse||first $50,000 to spouse, plus one-half of the balance|
|a spouse, children of decedent but not surviving spouse||one-half of the estate to the spouse|
|children of decedent||in an amount based on degree of kinship to decedent|
|parents, but no spouse or children||equally to the parents|
|no spouse, children, or parents||to other children of parents (siblings)|
|no spouse, children, parents, or siblings||to grandparents or children of grandparents based on degree of kinship.|
Not Having a Will Just Makes Everything More Complicated
Intestacy succession does not apply only when the deceased person didn’t leave a valid Will. In fact, a decedent’s probate assets that are not addressed in the Will may pass to heirs according to intestacy succession laws. It pays to make sure your Will is valid and up to date.
At Miller Estate and Elder Law, we make it our business to put our client’s needs first. We assist our clients in making legal decisions regarding their business interests. contact us at 256-472-1900. Miller Estate and Elder Law is now located at 818 Leighton Avenue in Anniston, but we serve clients in Leeds, Gadsden, Hoover, Talladega, Vestavia Hills, and surrounding areas.