The Rights of Heirs At Law
The rights of heirs at law are important when settling an estate. Heirs are those who inherit property and other assets from a deceased person, usually a parent or grandparent. These heirs have legal rights to the property, which can differ from state to state. If an heir dies without a will, he or she is referred to as intestate.
An intestate heir may have a right to contest the will and challenge the terms of the will.
The heirs at law hierarchy begins with the heir apparent, the individual who receives the first right of inheritance. Next in line are the children of the heir apparent, followed by the grandchildren. Each right of inheritance is based on the relationship of the heir to the decedent. In some cases, there are collateral heirs, such as siblings and cousins. Collateral heirs are not direct descendants of the heir, but they are still family members.
Generally, the first two heirs at law are the heir apparent and the spouse. In a marriage, the surviving spouse has the right to elect to share the property, although the amount of a spouse’s share will vary by state. A spouse can have more rights if the decedent had a child with her. However, most jurisdictions only allow a spouse to transfer property to a blood relative.
Another heir at law is the legal adoptive child.
A legal adoptive child has the same parental rights as a biological child. They are also entitled to receive an inheritance, although they do not have the right to vote.
Another type of heir at law is a friend. This is not a descendant of the heir, but it is someone who would receive the estate if the heir died without a will. Some states will presume that an afterborn child has the same rights as a child in a will, but the specific rules will vary from state to state.
Heirs at law are important because they have the potential to contest the will. If they believe that the will is invalid, they can challenge the validity of the will in the probate court. They can also present a newer copy of the will.
It is important to understand the rights of heirs at law before drafting a will.
An heir can have financial headaches if he or she is left out of the will. Drafting a will can help heirs avoid the headaches that come from inheriting assets.
While the rights of heirs at law can be complicated, they are important in settling an estate. Many heirs may be excluded from the will in violation of state probate laws. To find out more about heirs at law, contact the Parklin Law in Utah. Our attorneys represent heirs across the country.
A spouse who wants to remove the surviving spouse from the inheritance must have a prenuptial agreement signed. Otherwise, the surviving spouse is automatically entitled to a portion of the estate.
Disclaimer: This is not legal advice and is simply an answer to a question and that if legal advice is sought to contact a licensed attorney in the appropriate jurisdiction.
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