Who Inherits in Absence of Will?

by | Jan 6, 2018 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

Roughly half of all of the people in Idaho who pass away have no Last Will and Testament when that happens.

So, the question in those cases is always, “Who inherits the property and possessions of that person?”

The answer is dictated by statutes.  Here’s essentially how the distribution will go:

If the person who passed away (the “decedent”) was married and had no children, all of the decedent’s property passes to the surviving spouse.

If the decedent had both a surviving spouse and living children, then two things happen:  All of the property that the decedent acquired during the marriage passes to the surviving spouse.  Any other property (either property owned prior to the marriage, or property received by gift or inheritance during the marriage) will be divided with half of that also going to the surviving spouse and the other half being divided evenly between the children.

If the decedent had neither a surviving spouse, nor a surviving child, then all of the property will go to surviving parents.  If there are no surviving parents, then to surviving brothers and sisters.  And on down the family tree until surviving relatives are found to share the estate.

This configuration reflects the Idaho legislature’s best assessment of what most people would normally want.  But in reality, few people would have naturally divided their property in precisely this fashion.

So, in the final analysis, although the state of Idaho essentially creates a Will for the decedent, that Will is almost never what the decedent would have wanted.

For that reason, it is important for every person in Idaho to take control of the situation and spell out just what he or she wants to happen with his or her property and possessions when her or she pass away.  That is normally done either with a Last Will and Testament or with a Living Trust or Family Trust.

In the absence of such a document, the property and possessions that you’ve accumulated over a lifetime will end up in the wrong hands.


Author: Barry Peters. For additional easy-to-understand information on Wills, Trusts, and Probate, call attorney Barry Peters’ offices at (208) 939-2600 for your expedited appointment for a FREE OFFICE CONSULTATION or visit his Q & A pages at BarryPeters-Law.com/answers-to-questions. As always, your total satisfaction is guaranteed by Barry Peters, Attorney at Law, where all clients receive individual attention to the details of their unique circumstances.


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Daniel Patchin

Barry Peters