What Are Inheritance Rights | Which States Use Them

By on June 19, 2014

What are Inheritance rights? Much like their name explains, they are rights that are given to individuals who have a claim on your property after your death.

In some circumstances, inheritance rights have been known to override arrangements that were previously made in a will.

Although you can leave you property to anyone that you want, there are limitations that you have to consider, especially pertaining to your spouse.

Community Property States

Community-property-states

In the United States, there are states that are known as Community Property states.

These areas require that once a spouse dies, their surviving spouse receives half of all of their earnings made during the marriage and any property that was bought with the earnings.

These are the 10 States that abide by these guidelines:

  1. Arizona
  2. California
  3. Idaho
  4. Louisiana
  5. Nevada
  6. New Mexico
  7. Texas
  8. Washington
  9. Wisconsin
  10. Alaska

Even though you have the right to draft a will that gives your spouse half of your earnings, your spouse can contest the will and say that they want to receive the full amount. With that being said, the majority of these states would award your spouse their 50%.

In all of the other states, the surviving spouse is entitled to one third of the earnings and property. If you negate them this option, they can also contest the will in court and explain that they wish to be awarded their specified amount.

Children and Grandchildren Inheritances

inheritance-rights-children-grandchildren

Without specification, children and grandchildren do not have the legal obligation to inherit the property of their deceased grandparents or parents.

This means that if they are not included in the will, they will not be able to contest the will in a court setting.

If children are accidentally excluded, the majority of states will allow the children to contest the will in court. This generally applies to situations where a parent or grandparent drafted a will based on their previous children but had since given birth and died shortly afterwards.

In the event of this circumstance, the majority of courts would provide the new children with the opportunity to acquire a small amount of assets.

Ex-Spouses and Inheritances

In the majority of situations, ex-spouses do not have legal rights in regards to your property.

If you and your spouse go through a divorce, it is advised that you draft a new will that revokes the ex-spouse from receiving anything that you do not want them to have.

Learn how to write a Will in 3 easy steps