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Intestacy

Intestacy at a Glance

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. 

Protecting Your Children with a Testamentary Trust

Protecting Your Children with a Testamentary Trust

An individual who has children may wish to establish a testamentary trust, so that in the event that he/she dies, the funds that are left to his/her children are handled responsibly. A testament trust is established to protect a minor or a young adult when he/she inherits extensive quantities of money, which is disbursed following a loved one’s death. 
If the appointee dies, the individual that he/she appointed as the trustee obtains the responsibility of handling the funds that are inherited by the minor, until he/she reaches a certain ages. For example, the conditions of a testamentary trust may state that the minor or young adult will gain full rights to this inheritance when he/she reaches the age of 21, or when he/she graduates from college. The conditions vary from on testament to another. 
When a trustee is appointed, he/she must ensure that the funds are used responsibly, to care and provide for the child. If a parent or loved one does not appoint a trustee to handle the trust, the court may appoint a trustee. However, an individual should appoint someone that he/she trusts completely, to ensure that the trustee is acting in the best interest of the child. 
An individual who is appointed as a trustee will be required to visit the probate court regularly, so that the court can review the trust fund and ensure that the funds are being spent appropriately. If possible, it may be more appropriate for an individual to establish a revocable living will, however, in some instances, a testamentary trust is necessary, such as when a parent possesses a significant life insurance disbursement. 

Primogeniture Defined

Primogeniture Defined

Primogeniture refers to the superior rights of a first born child, especially in terms of inheritance. In many locations throughout the world, this long practiced custom was actually written into the country’s law. When parents dies, the entire estate was given to the family’s eldest son. This practice was widespread throughout most of Europe, including in Britain, Sweden, Belgium, Norway, and Denmark. 
In these locations, the first born son of deceased parents not only received his parents’ estate, but also their wealth and any office or title held by his father. If the deceased had multiple children, the younger children were not provided with any type of inheritance, and where left to their own devices to support themselves. If the deceased did not have children, the estate was given to the eldest and closest male relative.
Primogeniture became a common practice in the original thirteen colonies of the United States, and persisted until the late 1700s. Today, this procedure is no longer practiced in the United States, and has also been entirely eliminated or altered in many other countries. For example, a number of countries, including Norway and Denmark, still distribute estates based upon seniority, but have eliminated the male preference. 
Therefore, if the first born is a female, she will be permitted to inherit her parent’s estate. More commonly, individuals create will before they die, which details how they want their estate distributed between their loved ones. Some places still practice male preferred primogeniture, however, this practice has largely died.

What You Should Know About a Disclaimer of Interest

What You Should Know About a Disclaimer of Interest

When an individual dies and he/she has now created a will prior to death, his/her estate will be divided following the laws of intestacy. Therefore, certain people will be entitled to a portion of the deceased’s estate. For example, if the deceased has both a living spouse and living children, the estate will be divided amongst these individuals. This often happens without the consent of the individuals who are inheriting the estate. 
Some relatives may not want to inherit the deceased individual’s assets. For example, if the inheritance would adversely affect an individual’s income tax liabilities, or if the assets would by provided to creditors, an individual may not want to acquire the inheritance. Another reason that a direct descendant may wish to refuse an inheritance, is because the assets will then likely be passed to his/her children, without gift tax. 
In order for an individual to refuse an inheritance, he/she must file a disclaimer of interest. He/she must create a written disclaimer and submit the document to the court that is responsible for the distribution of the estate. The disclaimer must be submitted within a specified time period. In most cases, this period is nine months following the death of the deceased. 
In some states, regulations have been created regarding these disclaimers. For instance, in some locations, an individual who is reliant on welfare or public benefits will not be eligible to file a disclaimer of interest. It is important for an individual to review the laws and regulations regarding this process in his/her state, as it varies from one state to another.

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