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What do you do when someone dies without a will?

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September 08, 2011 8:49PM

In most states, if someone dies without as will, there are laws which tell you who inherits any property/assets owned outright by the deceased which do not already have a beneficiary (A life insurance policy, for example, already has a named beneficiary.)

Usually the assets go to the spouse, and if there is no spouse to the kids. After that it may go to grandkids, siblings, etc, depending on state law.

If one dies without a will, it is called dying "intestate." The relatives should get a copy of the death certificate and take it to a lawyer, and, if they can't afford a lawyer, to the probate court (you can find your local probate court by doing an internet search). They will help you figure out how to pay off debts and distribute the estate.