Intestacy in North Carolina or Dying Without a Will

Theodora Vaporis

Theodora A. Vaporis

I understand that 75% of North Carolinians die without a Will. This is called dying Intestate. If you die without a Will, then the Intestate laws of the state of North Carolina determine the distribution of your assets.

As discussed in a Blog Post, dated February 15, 2013, a common misconception is that if a married person dies without a Will, the assets pass automatically to the surviving spouse. This is not entirely true. Under current law, this is what happens:

 

If The Person Who Dies is Married:

Real Property

  • If survived by one child or a descendant of one child, then ½ goes to the spouse and ½ goes to the child or the descendant of the child.
  • If survived by two or more children or by descendants of a child or children, then ⅓ goes to the spouse and the remainder distributed to the children or descendants of the deceased child.
  • If not survived by a child or a descendant of any children but is survived by one or more parents, then ½ goes to the spouse and the surviving parents take the remaining.
  • If not survived by a child or a descendant of any children and not by any parents, then the spouse gets all of the real property.

 

Personal Property

  • If survived by one child or a descendant of one child, the spouse receives the first $60,000 in value plus ½ of the balance of the personal property and the child or descendants of the deceased child receive the other ½ of the balance of the personal property.
  • If survived by two or more children or by descendants of a child or children the spouse receives the first $60,000 in value plus ⅓ of the balance of the personal property and the remaining is to be distributed to the children or descendants of the deceased child.
  • If not survived by a child or a descendant of any children but is survived by one or more parents, the spouse receives first $100,000 in value plus ½ of the balance of the personal property and the surviving parents take the remaining.
  • If not survived by a child or a descendant of any children and not by any parents, then the spouse gets all of the personal property.

 

If The Person Who Dies is Unmarried:

  • If survived by one child or a descendant of one child, that person takes the entire estate;
  • If survived by two or more children or descendants of deceased children, they take the entire estate.
  • If not survived by a child or a descendant of any children, but is survived by one or more parents, the parents take the entire estate.
  • If not survived by a child or a descendant of any children and not by any parents, then the brothers and sisters take the entire estate.
  • If not survived by children or descendants of children and not survived by any parents and not survived by any brothers or sisters, then
    • ½ to Paternal Grandparents and if they are not alive, then to Paternal Uncles, Aunts or their descendants
    • ½ to Maternal Grandparents and if they are not alive, then to Maternal Uncles, Aunts or their descendants
    • If only one side, they take the entire estate.
  • If there are no children, parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles and no descendants of any such persons, the estate passes to the state of North Carolina.

 

It is imperative to have a properly drafted, up to date, Last Will and Testament in place. I can assist you with this in either the Greensboro or Charlotte, North Carolina offices of Black, Slaughter & Black, P.A.