My Family Member Died Without a Will – Who Gets the House?

My Family Member Died Without a Will – Who Gets the House?

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Experiencing a death in the family can be a trying and emotionally draining time. Making arrangements for a deceased relative is a difficult process that can be compounded if your family member died without a valid will.  Matters such as deciding who should inherit what parts of the decease’s estate can lead to drawn out legal proceedings.

In this article, we look at the general process involved in determining who inherits a deceased person’s property if they did not leave behind a will.

Determining an administrator

When someone dies without a valid will, they are said to have died “intestate.” When a property owner dies intestate, the state may step in and chose someone to act as the administrator of the decease’s estate. Courts will typically favor naming a spouse or close relative to serve in this role if they are available.

The administrator serves as the personal represented of the decease and is granted authority to distribute their estate to rightful heirs in accordance with local intestate succession laws. Property is usually divided amongst spouses, domestic partners, and children.  Other blood relatives may be entitled to inherit property if no close relatives are available. In the rare event that a person dies intestate and no relatives can be found, the state will take possession of their assets.

Who can act as administrator?

The estate administration process varies from state to state, but in general, the following list of people can be appointed to act as the administrator of an estate:

  • the surviving spouse
  • the children of the deceased
  • parents
  • siblings
  • grandparents
  • uncles and aunts

Next Steps After Inheriting a Property

Once the legal matters concerning the property have been settled, you’ll need to decide what you want to do with the home. Depending on the condition of the property and its location, you may find it suitable to live in yourself. However, in many cases, people who inherit a home decide that their best option is to sell the property as soon as possible.

If you’ve inherited a house that you intend to sell, consider getting a free quote for the property from HomeVestors. We’re the #1 home buyer in America, and we can purchase the property as-is which means you don’t have to worry about paying for any repairs.