Can A Spouse Receive Property If There Isn’t A Will?

Receiving property without a will

When your spouse dies intestate, receiving property without a will might seem tricky. In Oklahoma, an individual who dies without a will has the distribution of their property determined by intestate succession laws. These laws serve as a default will for the deceased, establishing a hierarchy of beneficiaries based on familial relationships. This article dives into the nuances of these laws, offering clarity on how a surviving spouse’s share is determined under different circumstances. As you read on, you’ll gain valuable insights into why involving an Oklahoma lawyer is crucial in navigating these intricate legal waters. For more legal information, feel free to check out our Tulsa Lawyers Blog here.

Spousal Inheritance: a Closer Look

The surviving spouse’s share of the inheritance is particularly detailed in Oklahoma law and varies under several circumstances:

Scenario With Children

  • One Child: If the deceased leaves behind one child or the issue of one child, the estate equally splits up between the child or the child’s issue and the surviving spouse.
  • Multiple Children: With more than one child, the surviving spouse has entitlement to a one-third share of the estate. The remaining two-thirds divides among the children or the descendants of any deceased child.

Scenario Without Children

  • No Immediate Family: If the decedent has no children has a surviving spouse, the spouse’s entitlement can range from half of or the entire estate, depending on whether the decedent has surviving parents, siblings, or the issue of siblings.
  • Jointly Acquired Property: In situations where the property happens through the joint effort of the spouses during the marriage, and there are no children or other direct descendants, the surviving spouse generally receives the entire estate.

Uncommon Scenarios

  • No Surviving Relatives: If the decedent has no surviving spouse receiving property without a will, parents, siblings, or their issue, the estate could escheat to the state of Oklahoma for the benefit of common schools.
  • Complex Family Structures: In cases involving children from multiple relationships or where the property must distribute to remote relatives, the laws provide for an equal division of the estate among the surviving heirs, with a system of representation for the issue of any deceased heir.

As such, in any of these scenarios it is best to consult with an attorney that has experience in estate planning and probate law. Proper legal counsel will be able to go through the facts of your case and be able to give you the best results.

Estate Division and the Right of Representation

“Right of representation” is a critical concept in these laws. This allows for the division of the estate into equal shares for each surviving relative in the nearest degree of kinship. This includes the descendants of any deceased persons in the same degree. The descendants then inherit the share that the deceased relative would have received, and divides among them.

Importance of Estate Planning

While the laws provide a clear framework for distributing property in the absence of a will, they may not reflect the deceased’s wishes accurately. Therefore, estate planning, including the drafting of a will, is an essential step for individuals to ensure their property distributes according to their preferences.

Protecting The Rights Of The Surviving Spouse

The intestate succession laws in Oklahoma ensure that the surviving spouse receiving property without a will is provided for. However, the exact share depends on the other relatives who survive the decedent. For those with concerns about the distribution of their property after death, especially in protecting the interests of a spouse, creating a will is necessary. In the absence of such a document, these laws could serve as the decisive factor in determining a spouse’s entitlement. Experienced estate planning lawyers at Kania Law Office can provide the guidance and support you need. Call (918) 743-2233 or reach out to us online for further assistance.

Tulsa's Local Lawyers

Law ScaleAre you looking for Tulsa attorneys who will fight aggressively for you? Our team of attorneys have the experience needed in Oklahoma law to secure the outcome you deserve.

Call us today for a free consultation 918-743-2233 or contact us online.