Inheritance Law

What are Inheritance Laws?

Inheritance Laws are those statutes and regulations affecting who is entitled to receive what from the estate of a deceased relative. Some relatives, such as spouses and children, have a right to claim an inheritance and can even do so despite the express terms of a will.

Spouses Inheritance

In most circumstances, the law prohibits leaving a spouse completely out of a will. In states that follow a community property system (Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington,Wisconsin, and Alaska) each spouse automatically owns half of what they both earned during the marriage unless they have a written agreement to the contrary. As a result, either spouse can do what he or she likes with his or her half-share of the community property and his or her separate property. Everywhere else, while there is no rule that property acquired during marriage is automatically owned by both spouses, most states give a surviving spouse the right to claim either 1/3 to ½ (depending on the jurisdiction) of the deceased spouse's estate in order to prevent anyone from becoming disinherited. This is true regardless of the terms of the will, and usually in spite of them. These provisions of law apply only if a surviving spouse petitions the court for his or her share per the statute. If he or she does not object to receiving less, the will is honored and the decedent's last wishes will be carried out as instructed.

Children Inheritance

Most states grant no rights at all to children to inherit from their parents. However, in a few circumstances children may be entitled to claim a share of a deceased parent's property. Most states also have laws to protect against accidental disinheritance. That is, if a will predates the birth of a child and leaves property to the child's siblings but the will was never revised after the child's birth, the law presumes the parent did not intend to omit the newest child, giving that child certain rights to inherit. In some jurisdictions, these laws can apply not only to direct children, but also to any grandchildren of a child who has died. If one wishes to disinherit a child or grandchild, the will should clearly state this intention or else that survivor may have a legal basis for challenging the will.

For more information about Inheritance Laws, you may review the materials found below. Also, given the obviously complex nature of these laws and the ways they interact with other areas of estate planning, it may be wise to consult with an attorney before preparing a will, claiming an inheritance through court proceedings, or opening any other actions in probate. You can find a list of attorneys in your area who focus their practices on estate law by visiting the Law Firms page of our website.


Inheritance - Know Your Rights!

  • Contesting a Will or Trust

    When an estate owner dies, there are some people who may be unhappy with the terms of the will, especially if they are given a small portion of the estate of left out. These people may have a right to challenge the will, depending on the circumstances.

  • Cut Out of the Will, What Can I Do?

    Losing someone you were close to is always difficult. But, it can be all the worse when you find that the lost loved one may have cut you out of their will, either intentionally, accidentally, or as a result of someone exerting undue influence over the person before their death. So what can you do it you get cut out of a will?

  • How Financial Aid Is Affected by Gifts and Inheritance

    The vast majority of college and university students depend on financial aid to help them fund their education. When a college student receives a gift or inheritance, he or she may be ecstatic about the prospect of having more financial resources at their disposal, especially if funds are generally limited. However, receiving a gift or inheritance can have an impact on a student's financial aid.

  • Inheritance Law

    Inheritance laws come into effect when a person dies with no will, or if the will is proven to be invalid. Inheritance laws are decided on the state level and decide who will get which assets.

Inheritance Law Articles

  • Florida Trust Laws
    Trusts are legal entities created to hold and manage assets for the benefit of designated individuals or entities; they are governed by state-specific rules and statutes. This article discusses Florida trust laws and their intricacies. It’s crucial to understand that the information presented serves as a directional guide and can address common queries; however, it should not be seen as an alternative to expert legal counsel. In the State of Florida, consultation with an attorney specializing in trusts is highly recommended, and often essential, to navigate the complex regulations and procedures involved.
  • Estate Planning for Single Individuals: Tailoring Plans to Your Needs
    Estate planning is a crucial financial step that often gets overlooked, especially by single individuals. Many mistakenly believe that estate planning is only for married couples or those with vast wealth. Single individuals, too, have assets and loved ones to consider, making it imperative to create a tailored estate plan. A plan that reflects their unique circumstances and desires. Here, we will explore the importance of estate planning for single individuals. We will also discuss some key considerations and strategies to help them customize their plans to meet their specific needs.
  • The Importance of Properly Titled Deeds in Estate Planning
    Estate planning is a critical process that ensures the smooth transfer of assets and property to your chosen beneficiaries after your passing. One vital aspect of estate planning is the proper titling of your deed. The way you hold title to your property can have significant implications for its management, transfer, and tax consequences.
  • The Basics of Medicaid Planning: A Comprehensive Guide
    Medicaid planning is a critical financial strategy for individuals and families seeking to secure long-term healthcare coverage while protecting their assets. Whether you’re approaching retirement or assisting a loved one in their senior years, understanding the fundamentals of Medicaid planning can make a significant difference in navigating the complex world of healthcare finance. In this guide, we’ll cover the basics to get you started.
  • The Importance of Powers of Attorney for College Students
    Estate planning is a critical consideration for individuals of all ages, and college students are no exception. While it might not be the most exciting topic on a student’s mind, taking the time to create essential legal documents like Powers of Attorney can provide invaluable protection and peace of mind. Here, we’ll delve into why you should prioritize establishing Powers of Attorney for college students. We’ll explain how these documents can make a significant difference during crucial moments.
  • How to Administer Your Loved One's Estate: A Short Synopsis in 2 Minutes or Less
    This a brief description of what you need to do initially which will save you time and money in the end. Do not wait to hire an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, you do not need to wait for legal assistance. Our office has helped thousands of families obtain legal assistance, maximize the estate and their inheritance and save time for no money for legal retainers and no monthly bills to pay.
  • Choosing a Guardian for Your Children
    When it comes to our children, we all plan for their future. We consider school districts when buying a house, find activities that fit their interests, sacrifice weekends to take them to practice or events, save money for college and try to instill in them different skills and values that will help in life. In all that planning, it is crucial to also include your wishes if something happens to you. Perhaps nothing is more important when planning your children’s future than selecting guardians for you minor children.
  • Inheritance Rights in New York State: Who Has the Right to Inherit When a Family Member Dies
    Many family members do not know their rights, and when they are grieving, the last thing they are thinking about is the estate and legal aspects.
  • Beneficiary Designations in Estate Planning
    Estate planning is a critical aspect of financial management that allows individuals to ensure the smooth transition of their assets, values, and legacies to their loved ones after their passing. While many people associate estate planning with wills and trusts, one often overlooked aspect that plays a crucial role in the process is beneficiary designations. These designations allow you to designate individuals or your trust to receive specific assets upon your death. This process bypasses the probate process and provides numerous benefits for both you and your beneficiaries.
  • Benefits of Family Participation in Estate Planning
    Estate planning is a critical process that aims to ensure the smooth transfer of wealth and assets from one generation to the next. But it is also much more than that. While the technical aspects of estate planning often revolve around wills, trusts, and tax considerations, one key element that is often overlooked is the power of family meetings. These gatherings offer a unique opportunity for families to come together. They can discuss their wishes and create a shared understanding of their estate plans. The significance of family meetings in estate planning and the benefits they bring to both the present and future generations should not be overlooked.
  • All Will and Probate Law Articles

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