Greg McIntyre’s Guide to Intestate Succession in North Carolina: Understanding the Default System for Distributing Property After Death.

 

Intestate succession, a concept that has long puzzled and perplexed those who find themselves faced with the task of distributing a loved one’s property after their death. But fear not, dear reader, for I am here to shed some light on this complex area of the law and help you understand its significance.

Intestate succession refers to the process by which a person’s property is distributed after their death if they die without a valid will. In other words, it is the default system for distributing a person’s property if they have not made their own arrangements through a will or other estate planning documents.

So, what happens if a person dies intestate in North Carolina? Under North Carolina law, the distribution of a person’s property is governed by the laws of intestate succession. These laws specify the order in which a person’s property is distributed to their heirs, with priority given to certain family members over others.

The first priority for distribution is given to the decedent’s surviving spouse and children. This is a complex distribution as exhibited in the following North Carolina statute governing the matter:

  • 29-14. Share of surviving spouse.

 

(a) Real Property. – The share of the surviving spouse in the real property is:

(1) If the intestate is survived by only one child or by any lineal descendant of only one deceased child, a one-half undivided interest in the real property;

(2) If the intestate is survived by two or more children, or by one child and any lineal descendant of one or more deceased children or by lineal descendants of two or more deceased children, a one-third undivided interest in the real property;

(3) If the intestate is not survived by a child, children or any lineal descendant of a deceased child or children, but is survived by one or more parents, a one-half undivided interest in the real property;

(4) If the intestate is not survived by a child, children or any lineal descendant of a deceased child or children, or by a parent, all the real property.

 

(b) The share of the surviving spouse in the personal property is:

(1) If the intestate is survived by only one child or by any lineal descendant of only one deceased child, and the net personal property does not exceed sixty thousand dollars ($60,000) in value, all of the personal property; if the net personal property exceeds sixty thousand dollars ($60,000) in value, the sum of sixty thousand dollars ($60,000) plus one half of the balance of the personal property;

(2) If the intestate is survived by two or more children, or by one child and any lineal descendant of one or more deceased children, or by lineal descendants of two or more deceased children, and the net personal property does not exceed sixty thousand dollars ($60,000) in value, all of the personal property; if the net personal property exceeds sixty thousand dollars ($60,000) in value, the sum of NC General Statutes – Chapter 29 4 sixty thousand dollars ($60,000) plus one third of the balance of the personal property;

(3) If the intestate is not survived by a child, children, or any lineal descendant of a deceased child or children, but is survived by one or more parents, and the net personal property does not exceed one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) in value, all of the personal property; if the net personal property exceeds one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) in value, the sum of one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) plus one half of the balance of the personal property;

(4) If the intestate is not survived by a child, children, or any lineal descendant of a deceased child or children, or by a parent, all of the personal property.

If the decedent does not have a surviving spouse or children, the estate will be distributed to the decedent’s parents, if they are alive. If the decedent’s parents are not alive, the estate will be distributed to the decedent’s siblings. If the decedent has no surviving siblings, the estate will be distributed to the decedent’s next of kin, starting with the decedent’s grandparents and working down the line of descendants.

It is important to understand that the laws of intestate succession are complex and can vary from state to state. It is always best to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney to understand your rights and options under the law. Trust me, it is a process that requires careful consideration and expert guidance, much like the intricate and thought-provoking writing of Margaret Atwood.

So, in conclusion, intestate succession is a complex and often confusing process that can have significant consequences for the distribution of a person’s property after their death. If you find yourself faced with the task of distributing a loved one’s property after their death, it is important to seek the help of an experienced estate planning attorney to understand your rights and options under the law. Don’t let the complexity of intestate succession catch you off guard. Take control of your future and plan for the distribution of your property. Trust me, it is a decision that you will not regret.

And remember, dear reader, the importance of estate planning cannot be overstated. It is never too early to start planning for the future, and a little bit of preparation can go a long way in ensuring that your wishes are carried out after your death. Don’t leave your loved ones to navigate the complexities of intestate succession on their own. Take the time to sit down with an estate planning attorney and discuss your options. Trust me, it will be a decision that you will not regret.

Schedule your FREE consultation today: mcelderlaw.com/scheduling or Call: 1-888-999-6600.

Greg McIntyre
Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney
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Meet Greg McIntyre

Greg McIntyre, founder of McIntyre Elder Law, is more than just an attorney. As a Navy Veteran, father to six kids, and a loving husband, he values family deeply. This drives his commitment to helping clients safeguard their futures and pass down legacies.

Greg has a passion to help people. Beyond just legal advice, he loves having conversations and strives to build a long-term relationship with every clients that comes through his door.

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