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Intestacy at a Glance


When an individual dies without creating a legal will, he/she is granted an intestate status. Intestacy occurs when there is no will available to regulate the distribution of an individual's estate. As a result, an administrator will be appointed by the court to dissipate the estate. The individual that is appointed to be the administrator is usually attorney or the deceased's next of kin, though it can also be a bank. The appointed administrator will be required to adhere to the laws on intestacy when distributing the deceased's assets.

The intestacy rules are outline inf the Succession Act of 1965. This legislation determines how assets will be distributed if an individual dies without creating a will. It outlines who is entitled to receive a portion of the deceased's estate. Based upon the intestacy rules specified in the Succession Act, if an individual is survived by his/her spouse, but has no living children, his/her entire estate will be left to his/her spouse. However, if the deceased is survived by both a spouse and children, distribution becomes slightly more difficult.

The spouse will be provided with two-thirds of the estate, while the remaining one-third will be equally divided between the children. If the deceased's child has previously died, the portion intended for him/her will be left to his/her children. If the deceased's children are alive, but his/her spouse has died, the estate will be divided equally amongst the children.

If an individual does not have a surviving spouse or children at the time of his/her death, his/her estate will be left to his/her parents, if they are alive. In the absences of a spouse, children, and parents, the estate will be divided between the deceased's siblings. If an individual has no surviving relatives, the state will acquire his/her assets.

NEXT: Letters Testamentary At A Glance

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