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Intestate Succession Essay

Intestate Succession refers to the distribution of the property when a person dies without even leaving a valid will among the spouse and heirs that will take this property according to the descent and distribution and martial right in the estate. The rules of the succession of the place where a person resides or have the domicile are often applied, but the place where a person’s property is located can also be applied. The succession rules often play a backup role where the individual had not been placed the proper property disposed of the will.

Handling the estate of the died person is a huge responsibility for the spouse and heirs. First of all, one should need to collect the copies of the decedent’s birth certificate, his/her marriage certificates and the death certificate by Deaths and Marriages Act 1965. Moreover, one should need to collect any trust papers, insurance policies, credit card number, lists of the assets of the decedent including house, jewelry, car, etc., any tax returns from the previous years. Furthermore, one should need to the real estate, any retirement accounts, any safe deposits box content and stock and bonds. Then one should need to notify social security to stop or freeze the bank account. Make sure to keep the property safe from the theft or any vandalism.

Then one should need to claims the benefits from the insurance that the decedent may have. One should need to be prepared with the number of the policy and with the copy of the certificate of the death, before calling the company for an insurance claim. Then the insurance company will proceed the policy to someone who was named as the benefactor. After doing this one should need to start the process of the probate with local courts. Probate is a lawful procedure for the finalization and administration of decedent’s state. During this process of probate, the decedent’s family and the advocate will work with the process in supreme court. The court appoints a personal representative for receiving all the claims that are legal against the pay creditors and estate and then manage any other expenses that are owned by the estate. Then after paying any unpaid bills and loans, the administration will progress towards the process of probate. First, the administration should need to identify the legal heirs by the probate law (Darrow, 2006).

Then after identifying the legal heirs, the court will proceed to identify the assets of the decedent that is going to be distributed. After the identification of the property and by paying all the debts and the taxes, the remaining property will distribute among the legal heirs and spouse by section 2 of the 1964 Act (O’Connell, 1972). For example, in California, if a died person was married, then two out of three parts of the property will be given to the spouse, and only one third is being distributed among the children or parents.

Moreover, in Pennsylvania, there is a law of inheritance tax of about 15% on the net property of the decedent and also on the transfer of the property in one year from the decedent. In this, the tax money from the decedent property goes to the state. Furthermore, it is necessary to fill up the inheritance tax form for the transfer of the subject property of the decedent. If there is no legal heir identified as per state law, then the probate law states that property is considered as the defaulted to the state.


Darrow, J. J., & Ferrera, G. R. (2006). Who Owns a Decedents E-Mails: Inheritable Probate Assets or Property of the Network. NYUJ Legis. & Pub. Pol’y10, 281.

Deaton, B. J. (2007). Intestate succession and heir property: implications for future research on the persistence of poverty in central Appalachia. Journal of Economic Issues41(4), 927-942.

O’Connell, D. H., & Effland, R. W. (1972). Intestate Succession and Wills: A Comparative Analysis of the Law of Arizona and the Uniform Probate Code. Ariz. L. Rev.14, 205.



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