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.
(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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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].