In North Dakota, dying without a will means that your estate will be subject to the state’s intestate succession laws. Intestate succession refers to the legal process of distributing the property and assets of a person who dies without a valid will.
Understanding what will happen if you die without a will is important. This information will also help you see the importance of creating one.
Intestate succession laws
North Dakota has specific laws that explain how your estate will be distributed if you die without a will. These laws determine the order of priority for distributing your assets among your heirs.
- Spouse’s share: If your spouse is alive and you have no children, your spouse receives all assets in your estate. However, if you have a surviving spouse and children, your spouse will receive a share of the estate, usually one-half or one-third, depending on the number of children.
- Children’s share: Your children receive your estate if you don’t have a living spouse. It is divided into equal shares. If any of your children are no longer living, their share of your estate passes to their own children (your grandchildren).
- Other heirs: If you have no surviving spouse or children, your estate will pass to your parents. If your parents are deceased, your estate will go to your siblings. If you have no living parents or siblings, your estate will be distributed among more distant relatives according to the intestate succession laws.
If you die without a will, the court appoints an administrator to handle your estate. The administrator’s job is to identify and gather the deceased person’s assets, pay off debts and taxes and distribute the remaining assets according to the intestate succession laws.
Creating a comprehensive estate plan, including a valid will, is highly recommended to avoid uncertainty and ensure your wishes are fulfilled. This will also make asset distribution easier for your family.