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How Does the State Commonly Divide an Estate Without a Will?

While there's no clear way to predict how the state will divide property, bank accounts, and other assets, there are a few common outcomes:

  • The estate of single persons without children goes to their parents. And if their parents are no longer alive, it goes to the person’s siblings or next-of-kin.

  • The children of single persons get the entirety of the estate.

  • Spouses tend to get half to a third of the estate. The rest is divided among the children (if there are any), or given to the deceased's parents (or next-of-kin).

  • In some states, domestic partners have the same rights as married couples concerning inheritance and control over funeral plans and disposal of remains.