What happens to a person’s property when there is no will?A.
When a person dies without a will (“intestate”), his or her property is distributed to his/her heirs at law according to the laws of Massachusetts. The laws are inflexible and make no exceptions for families with special situations. The law provides that after payment of the expenses of administration, funeral, last illness, debts, taxes and any family allowances, the deceased person’s property is divided as follows:
The intestate share of a surviving spouse (living husband/wife) is:
The entire estate (all the assets) if:
• No descendants (children or grandchildren) or parents of the deceased person survive the person who passed away;
• All of the deceased person’s surviving descendants (children or grandchildren) are also descendants of the surviving spouse (children or grandchildren of the marriage) and there are no other kids of surviving spouse from another marriage (step children).
If no other kids of deceased person survive the deceased, but the parent(s) of the deceased person is still living, the surviving spouse receives the 1st $200,000.00 plus ¾ of the balance of the estate.
If all of the deceased person’s children or grandchildren are also children of the surviving husband or wife and the surviving spouse has one or more children or grandchildren from another marriage, the first $100,000.00 to the living spouse plus ½ the balance of the remaining estate.
If one or more of the decedent’s surviving children/grandchildren are not children/grandchildren of the surviving spouse, the first $100,000.00 goes to the living spouse plus ½ of the remaining estate.
If there is no surviving spouse:
Then the estate goes to the children/grandchildren PER CAPITA.
If there are no children/grandchildren, the estate goes to the deceased person’s parent(s).
If there are no children/grandchildren and no parents living, the estate goes to the deceased person’s siblings (brothers/sisters) PER CAPITA.
If there are no children/grandchildren, parents and no siblings, then the estate goes to the next of kin PER CAPITA.
If no surviving relatives (at all), then the estate goes to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.