Estate Planning

If you die without a valid will while residing in the State of Vermont, you are said to have died "intestate."  In order to determine who will receive your property if you die intestate, the State of Vermont has established a number of laws (known as "intestacy laws" or "laws of intestate succession.") The primary statutes comprising these intestacy laws, or laws of intestate succession, are set forth below. For a more complete list, see Vermont Intestacy Laws | Intestate Succession statutes.

 

 

§ 551. General rules of descent

The real and personal estate of a decedent, not devised nor bequeathed and not otherwise appropriated and distributed in pursuance of law, shall descend in the following manner: 

(1) In equal shares to the children of such decedent or the legal representatives of deceased children; 

(2) If the decedent is married and leaves no issue and the surviving spouse does not elect to take a third in value of the real estate of which the decedent dies seised in his or her own right, or waives the provisions of the will of such decedent, such spouse shall be entitled to the whole of the decedent's estate forever, if it does not exceed $25,000.00, but if it exceeds that sum, then such spouse shall be entitled to $25,000.00 and half the remainder. The remainder of such estate shall descend as the whole would if such spouse did not survive. If the decedent has no kindred who may inherit the estate, such spouse shall be entitled to the whole of such estate; 

(3) If the decedent does not leave issue nor surviving spouse, the estate shall descend in equal shares to the father and mother of such decedent. If the mother is not living and the father survives, the estate shall descend to the father. If the father is not living and the mother survives, the estate shall descend to the mother; 

(4) If the decedent does not leave issue, nor surviving spouse, nor father, nor mother, the estate shall descend in equal shares to the brothers and sisters of such decedent, and to the legal representatives of deceased brothers and sisters; 

(5) If none of the kindred above-named survives the decedent, the estate shall descend in equal shares to the next of kin in equal degree; but a person shall not be entitled, by right of representation, to the share of such next of kin who has died.

(6) Notwithstanding the foregoing rules or provisions otherwise made in any case where a person is entitled to inherit, including a devisee or legatee under the last will of a decedent, such person's share in the decedent's estate shall be forfeited and shall pass to the remaining heirs of the decedent if such person stands convicted in any court of the United States or of any of the individual states of the United States of intentionally and unlawfully killing the decedent. In any proceedings to contest the right of a person to inherit, the record of such person's conviction of intentionally and unlawfully killing the decedent shall be admissible evidence and may be taken as sufficient proof that such person did intentionally kill the decedent.
 

§ 552. Degrees, how computed; kindred of half-blood

The degrees of kindred shall be computed according to the rules of the civil law and the kindred of the half-blood shall inherit equally with those of the whole blood, in the same degree.
 

§ 553. Illegitimate children; inheritance by and from

(a) An illegitimate child shall inherit from or through his mother as if born in lawful wedlock. The estate of an illegitimate person dying intestate and leaving no issue nor husband nor wife shall descend to the mother, and, if the mother is dead, through the line of the mother as if the person so dying were born in lawful wedlock. 

(b) An illegitimate child shall inherit from or through his father as if born in lawful wedlock, under any of the following conditions: 

(1) The father has been declared the putative father of the child under 15 V.S.A. § 306.

(2) The father has openly and notoriously claimed the child to be his own.
 

§ 554. Children legitimatized by parents' marriage

When the parents of an illegitimate child intermarry, the child shall be considered legitimate and be capable of inheriting, if recognized by the father as his child.
 

§ 555. Share of after-born child

When a child of a testator is born after the making of a will and provision is not therein made for him, such child shall have the same share in the estate of the testator as if such testator had died intestate. The share of such child shall be assigned to him as in case of intestate estates, unless it is apparent from the will that it was the intention of the testator that provision should not be made for such child.
 

§ 556. Share of child or issue of child omitted from will

When a testator omits to provide in his will for any of his children, or for the issue of a deceased child, and it appears that such omission was made by mistake or accident, such child or its issue shall have the same share of the estate of the testator as if he had died intestate, to be assigned as in case of intestate estates.
 

§ 557. Omitted or after-born child, from what part of estate share taken

When a share of a testator's estate is assigned to a child born after the making of a will, or to a child or the issue of a child omitted in the will, such share shall be taken first from the estate not disposed of by the will, if there is any. If that is not sufficient, so much as is necessary shall be taken from the devisees or legatees in proportion to the value of the estate they respectively receive under the will. If the obvious intention of the testator, as to some specific devise or legacy or other provision in the will, would thereby be defeated, such specific devise, legacy or provision may be exempted from such apportionment and a different apportionment adopted in the discretion of the court.
 

§ 558. Devisee dying before testator; issue to take

When a devise or legacy is made to a child or other kindred of the testator, and such devisee or legatee dies before the testator, leaving issue who survive the testator, such issue shall take the estate so given as the devisee or legatee would have taken if he had survived the testator, unless a different disposition is required by the will.


§ 559. Person absent and unheard of; share of

If a person entitled to a distributive share of the estate of a decedent is absent and unheard of for fifteen years, five years of which are after the death of the decedent, or is absent and unheard of for a period of twenty-five years, two years of which are after such death, the probate court in which the decedent's estate is pending may order the share of the absent person distributed among the person's lineal heirs, if it is shown to the probate court that the person has any, otherwise among the heirs of the decedent. If the absent person proves to be alive, the person shall be entitled to the share of the estate notwithstanding prior distribution, and may recover in an action on this statute, any portion thereof which any one received under order. Before an order is made for the payment or distribution of any money or estate as herein authorized, notice shall be given as provided by the rules of probate procedure.
 
 
 
 

[Reference - Vermont Intestacy Laws | Intestate Succession]

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If you die without a valid will while residing in the State of Utah, you are said to have died "intestate."  In order to determine who will receive your property if you die intestate, the State of Utah has established a number of laws (known as "intestacy laws" or "laws of intestate succession.") The primary statutes comprising these intestacy laws, or laws of intestate succession, are set forth below. For a more complete list, see Utah Intestacy Laws | Intestate Succession statutes.

 

 

Intestate succession

       (1)  Any part of a decedent's estate not effectively disposed of by will passes by intestate succession to the decedent's heirs as provided in this title, except as modified by the decedent's will.

       (2)  A decedent by will may expressly exclude or limit the right of an individual or class to succeed to property of the decedent passing by intestate succession.  If that individual or a member of that class survives the decedent, the share of the decedent's intestate estate to which that individual or class would have succeeded passes as if that individual or each member of that class had disclaimed his intestate share.

Utah Code, 75-2-101

 

Intestate share of spouse

(1)  The intestate share of a decedent's surviving spouse is:
      
          (a)  the entire intestate estate if:
                    (i)  no descendant of the decedent survives the decedent; or
                    (ii)  all of the decedent's surviving descendants are also descendants of the surviving spouse;

          (b)  the first $50,000, plus 1/2 of any balance of the intestate estate, if one or more of the decedent's surviving descendants are not descendants of the surviving spouse.

(2)  For purposes of Subsection (1)(b), if the intestate estate passes to both the decedent's surviving spouse and to other heirs, then any nonprobate transfer, as defined in Section 75-2-206, received by the surviving spouse is chargeable against the intestate share of the surviving spouse.

Utah Code, 75-2-102

 

Share of heirs other than surviving spouse

(1)  Any part of the intestate estate not passing to the decedent's surviving spouse under Section 75-2-102, or the entire intestate estate if there is no surviving spouse, passes in the following order to the individuals designated below who survive the decedent:

          (a)  to the decedent's descendants per capita at each generation as defined in Subsection 75-2-106(2);

          (b)  if there is no surviving descendant, to the decedent's parents equally if both survive, or to the surviving parent;

          (c)  if there is no surviving descendant or parent, to the descendants of the decedent's parents or either of them per capita at each generation as defined in Subsection 75-2-106(3);

          (d)  if there is no surviving descendant, parent, or descendant of a parent, but the decedent is survived by one or more grandparents or descendants of grandparents, half of the estate passes to the decedent's paternal grandparents equally if both survive, or to the surviving paternal grandparent, or to the descendants of the decedent's paternal grandparents or either of them if both are deceased, the descendants taking per capita at each generation as defined in Subsection 75-2-106(3);  and the other half passes to the decedent's maternal relatives in the same manner;  but if there is no surviving grandparent or descendant of a grandparent on either the paternal or the maternal side, the entire estate passes to the decedent's relatives on the other side in the same manner as the half.

(2)  For purposes of Subsections (a), (b), (c), and (d), any nonprobate transfer, as defined in Section 75-2-205, received by an heir is chargeable against the intestate share of such heir.

Utah Code, 75-2-103

 

Requirement that heir survive decedent for 120 hours

An individual who fails to survive the decedent by 120 hours is considered to have predeceased the decedent for purposes of homestead allowance, exempt property, and intestate succession, and the decedent's heirs are determined accordingly.  If it is not established by clear and convincing evidence that an individual who would otherwise be an heir survived the decedent by 120 hours, it is considered that the individual failed to survive for the required period.  This section is not to be applied if its application would result in a taking of intestate estate by the state under Section 75-2-105.

Utah Code, 75-2-104

 

No taker

If there is no taker under the provisions of this chapter, the intestate estate passes to the state for the benefit of the state school fund.

Utah Code, 75-2-105

 

Other intestacy statutes

There are additional statutes pertaining to the distribution of intestate property in the State of Utah. To view those statutes, please click here.

 

[Reference - Utah Intestacy Laws | Intestate Succession]

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If you die without a valid will while residing in the State of Texas, you are said to have died "intestate."  In order to determine who will receive your property if you die intestate, the State of Texas has established a number of laws (known as "intestacy laws" or "laws of intestate succession.") The primary statutes comprising these intestacy laws, or laws of intestate succession, are set forth below. For a more complete list, see Texas Intestacy Laws | Intestate Succession statutes.

 

 

PERSONS WHO TAKE UPON INTESTACY

(a) Intestate Leaving No Husband or Wife. Where any person, having title to any estate, real, personal or mixed, shall die intestate, leaving no husband or wife, it shall descend and pass in parcenary to his kindred, male and female, in the following course:

          1. To his children and their descendants.

          2. If there be no children nor their descendants, then to his father and mother, in equal portions. But if only the father or mother survive the intestate, then his estate shall be divided into two equal portions, one of which shall pass to such survivor, and the other half shall pass to the brothers and sisters of the deceased, and to their descendants; but if there be none such, then the whole estate shall be inherited by the surviving father or mother.

          3. If there be neither father nor mother, then the whole of such estate shall pass to the brothers and sisters of the intestate, and to their descendants.

          4. If there be none of the kindred aforesaid, then the inheritance shall be divided into two moieties, one of which shall go to the paternal and the other to the maternal kindred, in the following course: To the grandfather and grandmother in equal portions, but if only one of these be living, then the estate shall be divided into two equal parts, one of which shall go to such survivor, and the other shall go to the descendant or descendants of such deceased grandfather or grandmother. If there be no such descendants, then the whole estate shall be inherited by the surviving grandfather or grandmother. If there be no surviving grandfather or grandmother, then the whole of such estate shall go to their descendants, and so on without end, passing in like manner to the nearest lineal ancestors and their descendants.

(b) Intestate Leaving Husband or Wife. Where any person having title to any estate, real, personal or mixed, other than a community estate, shall die intestate as to such estate, and shall leave a surviving husband or wife, such estate of such intestate shall descend and pass as follows:

          1. If the deceased have a child or children, or their descendants, the surviving husband or wife shall take one-third of the personal estate, and the balance of such personal estate shall go to the child or children of the deceased and their descendants. The surviving husband or wife shall also be entitled to an estate for life, in one-third of the land of the intestate, with remainder to the child or children of the intestate and their descendants.

          2. If the deceased have no child or children, or their descendants, then the surviving husband or wife shall be entitled to all the personal estate, and to one-half of the lands of the intestate, without remainder to any person, and the other half shall pass and be inherited according to the rules of descent and distribution; provided, however, that if the deceased has neither surviving father nor mother nor surviving brothers or sisters, or their descendants, then the surviving husband or wife shall be entitled to the whole of the estate of such intestate.

Texas Statutes, Probate Code, Sec. 38

 

DETERMINATION OF PER CAPITA AND PER STIRPES DISTRIBUTION

When the intestate's children, descendants, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, or any other relatives of the deceased standing in the first or same degree alone come into the distribution upon intestacy, they shall take per capita, namely: by persons; and, when a part of them being dead and a part living, the descendants of those dead shall have right to distribution upon intestacy, such descendants shall inherit only such portion of said property as the parent through whom they inherit would be entitled to if alive.

Texas Statutes, Probate Code, Sec. 43

 

COMMUNITY ESTATE

(a) On the intestate death of one of the spouses to a marriage, the community property estate of the deceased spouse passes to the surviving spouse if:

          (1) no child or other descendant of the deceased spouse survives the deceased spouse; or

          (2) all surviving children and descendants of the deceased spouse are also children or descendants of the surviving spouse.

(b) On the intestate death of one of the spouses to a marriage, if a child or other descendant of the deceased spouse survives the deceased spouse and the child or descendant is not a child or descendant of the surviving spouse, one-half of the community estate is retained by the surviving spouse and the other one-half passes to the children or descendants of the deceased spouse. The descendants shall inherit only such portion of said property to which they would be entitled under Section 43 of this code. In every case, the community estate passes charged with the debts against it.

Texas Statutes, Probate Code, Sec. 45

 

REQUIREMENT OF SURVIVAL BY 120 HOURS

(a) Survival of Heirs. A person who fails to survive the decedent by 120 hours is deemed to have predeceased the decedent for purposes of homestead allowance, exempt property, and intestate succession, and the decedent's heirs are determined accordingly, except as otherwise provided in this section. If the time of death of the decedent or of the person who would otherwise be an heir, or the times of death of both, cannot be determined, and it cannot be established that the person who would otherwise be an heir has survived the decedent by 120 hours, it is deemed that the person failed to survive for the required period. This subsection does not apply where its application would result in the escheat of an intestate estate.

(b) Disposal of Community Property. When a husband and wife have died, leaving community property, and neither the husband nor wife survived the other by 120 hours, one-half of all community property shall be distributed as if the husband had survived, and the other one-half thereof shall be distributed as if the wife had survived. The provisions of this subsection apply to proceeds of life or accident insurance which are community property and become payable to the estate of either the husband or the wife, as well as to other kinds of community property.

(c) Survival of Devisees or Beneficiaries. A devisee who does not survive the testator by 120 hours is treated as if he predeceased the testator, unless the will of the decedent contains some language dealing explicitly with simultaneous death or deaths in a common disaster, or requiring that the devisee survive the testator or survive the testator for a stated period in order to take under the will. If property is so disposed of that the right of a beneficiary to succeed to any interest therein is conditional upon his surviving another person, the beneficiary shall be deemed not to have survived unless he or she survives the person by 120 hours. However, if any interest in property is given alternatively to one of two or more beneficiaries, with the right of each to take being dependent upon his surviving the other or others, and all shall die within a period of less than 120 hours, the property shall be divided into as many equal portions as there are beneficiaries, and those portions shall be distributed respectively to those who would have taken in the event that each beneficiary had survived.

(d) Joint Owners. If any real or personal property, including community property with a right of survivorship, shall be so owned that one of two joint owners is entitled to the whole on the death of the other, and neither survives the other by 120 hours, these assets shall be distributed one-half as if one joint owner had survived and the other one-half as if the other joint owner had survived. If there are more than two joint owners and all have died within a period of less than 120 hours, these assets shall be divided into as many equal portions as there are joint owners and these portions shall be distributed respectively to those who would have taken in the event that each joint owner survived.

(e) Insured and Beneficiary. When the insured and a beneficiary in a policy of life or accident insurance have died within a period of less than 120 hours, the insured shall be deemed to have survived the beneficiary for the purpose of determining the rights under the policy of the beneficiary or beneficiaries as such. The provisions of this subsection shall not prevent the application of subsection (b) above to the proceeds of life or accident insurance which are community property.

(f) Instruments Providing Different Disposition. When provision has been made in the case of wills, living trusts, deeds, or contracts of insurance, or any other situation, for disposition of property different from the provisions of this Section, this Section shall not apply.

Texas Statutes, Probate Code, Sec. 47

 

OTHER INTESTACY STATUTES

There are additional statutes pertaining to the distribution of intestate property in the State of Texas. To view those statutes, please click here.

 

[Reference - Texas Intestacy Laws | Intestate Succession]

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If you die without a valid will while residing in the State of Tennessee, you are said to have died "intestate."  In order to determine who will receive your property if you die intestate, the State of Tennessee has established a number of laws (known as "intestacy laws" or "laws of intestate succession.") The primary statutes comprising these intestacy laws, or laws of intestate succession, are set forth below. For a more complete list, see Tennesee Intestacy Laws | Intestate Succession statutes.

 

 

31-2-101.  Intestate estate.
 
When any person dies intestate, after the payment of debts and charges against the estate, the deceased's property passes to the deceased's heirs as prescribed in the following sections of this chapter. Any part of the estate of a decedent not effectively disposed of by the deceased's will passes to the deceased's heirs in the same manner.
 
 

31-2-102.  Dower and curtesy abolished.

Dower and curtesy, as formerly known, are abolished. This section shall neither abridge nor affect rights that have vested before April 1, 1979.
 

31-2-103.  Vesting of estate — Net estate.
 
The real property of an intestate decedent shall vest immediately upon death of the decedent in the heirs as provided in § 31-2-104. The real property of a testate decedent vests immediately upon death in the beneficiaries named in the will, unless the will contains a specific provision directing the real property to be administered as part of the estate subject to the control of the personal representative. Upon qualifying, the personal representative shall be vested with the personal property of the decedent for the purpose of first paying administration expenses, taxes, and funeral expenses and then for the payment of all other debts or obligations of the decedent as provided in § 30-2-317. If the decedent's personal property is insufficient for the discharge or payment of a decedent's obligations, the personal representative may utilize the decedent's real property in accordance with title 30, chapter 2, part 4. After payment of debts and charges against the estate, the personal representative shall distribute the personal property of an intestate decedent to the decedent's heirs as prescribed in § 31-2-104, and the property of a testate decedent to the distributees as prescribed in decedent's will.

 
31-2-104.  Share of surviving spouse and heirs.

(a)  The intestate share of the surviving spouse is:
(1)  If there is no surviving issue of the decedent, the entire intestate estate; or

(2)  If there are surviving issue of the decedent, either one-third (1/3) or a child's share of the entire intestate estate, whichever is greater.
(b)  The part of the intestate estate not passing to the surviving spouse under subsection (a) or the entire intestate estate if there is no surviving spouse, passes as follows:
(1)  To the issue of the decedent; if they are all of the same degree of kinship to the decedent they take equally, but if of unequal degree, then those of more remote degree take by representation;

(2)  If there is no surviving issue, to the decedent's parent or parents equally;
 
(3)  If there is no surviving issue or parent, to the brothers and sisters and the issue of each deceased brother and sister by representation; if there is no surviving brother or sister, the issue of brothers and sisters take by representation;or
 
(4)  If there is no surviving issue, parent, or issue of a parent, but the decedent is survived by one or more grandparents or issue of grandparents, half of the estate passes to the paternal grandparents if both survive, or to the surviving paternal grandparent or to the issue of the paternal grandparents if both are deceased, the issue taking equally if they are all of the same degree of kinship to the decedent, but if of unequal degree those of more remote degree take by representation; and the other half passes to the maternal relatives in the same manner; but if there is no surviving grandparent or issue of grandparent on either the paternal or maternal side, the entire estate passes to the relatives on the other side in the same manner as the half.
 
31-2-105.  Parent-child relationship.
 
(a)  If, for purposes of intestate succession, a relationship of parent and child must be established to determine succession by, through, or from a person:
(1)  An adopted person is the child of an adopting parent and not of the natural parents except that adoption of a child by the spouse of a natural parent has no effect on the relationship between the child and that natural parent; and
(2)  In cases not covered by subdivision (a)(1), a person born out of wedlock is a child of the mother. That person is also a child of the father, if:
(A)  The natural parents participated in a marriage ceremony before or after the birth of the child, even though the attempted marriage is void; or
(B)  The paternity is established by an adjudication before the death of the father or is established thereafter by clear and convincing proof, but the paternity established under this subdivision (a)(2)(B) is ineffective to qualify the father or the father's kindred to inherit from or through the child unless the father has openly treated the child as the father's, and has not refused to support the child.
(b)  In no event shall a parent be permitted to inherit through intestate succession until all child support arrearages together with interest thereon at the legal rate of interest computed from the date each payment was due have been paid in full to the parent ordered to receive support or to the parent's estate if deceased.

(c)  Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent a child from inheriting from a parent through intestate succession.

 
31-2-106.  Representation.

If representation is called for by this title, such representation shall be per stirpes.

 
31-2-107.  Kindred of half blood.

Relatives of the half blood inherit the same share they would inherit if they were of the whole blood.

 
31-2-108.   Afterborn heirs.

Relatives of the decedent conceived before the decedent's death but born thereafter inherit as if they had been born in the lifetime of the decedent.

 
31-2-110.  Escheat.

If there is no taker under this chapter, the intestate estate shall escheat to the state of Tennessee under the provisions of chapter 6 of this title.
 
 

[Reference - Tennessee Intestacy Laws | Intestate Succession]

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