Inheritance Rights

Inheritance Rights Lawyer

Estate planning helps you prepare for the future and provide for your family and loved ones when you die. If you want to choose who will inherit your valuable possessions and assets, you need to prepare an estate plan. A common foundation of estate planning is writing a last will and testament.

A will should clearly state your plans on how and what to distribute to your chosen beneficiaries and heirs. However, who inherits your estate depends not only on what you bequeath in your will, but inheritance rights can override some arrangements and provisions in your will. Our credible South Portland estate planning attorneys can help you know your rights and how to protect your estate.

At Jackson & MacNichol, we have extensive experience in estate planning and administration, such as creating wills, trusts, and powers of attorneys. Our legal team also provides representation in probate court, estate administration, and trust litigation. We can help you create a good and comprehensive estate plan that protects your assets, family, and legacy.

Schedule a free consultation with us today to discuss the estate planning process.

Understanding Inheritance Rights

It is easy to assume that writing up a last will and testament can guarantee that your assets will be distributed according to your wishes. However, inheritance rights may override your arrangements as stated in your will. While you can legally leave your valuable assets to whomever you like, there are limitations. This is particularly true when it comes to surviving spouses. Each person who had a connection with the deceased has their inheritance rights.

Inheritance laws determine who has the legal right to claim your assets after you die. These laws govern how family members receive their share of assets, as well as which relatives have the statutory right to claim an inheritance when they are not specifically included in the will. Inheritance laws are more complex than they may seem.

Suppose you’re still confused about inheritance rights. In that case, it is highly advisable to seek legal help from a knowledgeable South Portland inheritance rights lawyer to make the right decisions for your estate.

If you die without a will (intestate), a person’s estate will be distributed according to their state’s specific intestate succession laws. Because these laws generally vary from state to state, the distribution of the assets may not be in line with the deceased person’s wishes. Dying without a will can cause family disputes, financial hardship, and long court battles for your loved ones.

Inheritance Rights of a Surviving Spouse

A surviving spouse cannot be completely excluded in a last will and testament. The inheritance law is particularly complex when it comes to what your spouse is entitled to. The ownership and distribution of a married decedent’s estate may vary depending on whether a state follows community property laws or common laws. A skilled inheritance rights attorney in South Portland can help you know and understand your state’s inheritance laws.

Community Property States

The community property states have their own rules about what spouses own and can claim. The following are community property states: Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin. Alaska is also included if you and your spouse sign an agreement creating community property.

Community property generally refers to property acquired by either spouse throughout their marriage. This includes income from employment, property bought during the marriage, and separate property that a spouse gives to the marriage community. If you live in a community property state, each spouse owns one-half of the community property of the marriage.

When you die, you can write in your will who gets your half of the community property, but you can’t give away the other half your spouse owns. Keep in mind that you and your spouse can create a written agreement affecting the ownership and distribution of your community property that can overrule the community property inheritance law.

Common Law States

In a common law state, both spouses do not necessarily own the property acquired during the marriage. The ownership and distribution of the property will be determined by the name on the title of the property or by which the spouse’s income was used to purchase it.

Every common law state has different guidelines, but most common law states inheritance law protects a surviving spouse from complete disinheritance. These states allow a surviving spouse to claim one-third of the deceased spouse’s property, regardless of the terms of the will. However, these provisions are only applicable if the surviving spouse petitions the court for their share. If a surviving spouse doesn’t object to receiving less, the will is carried out according to the decedent’s wishes.

Inheritance Rights of Children

Children and grandchildren have no legal right to inherit a deceased parent or grandparent’s property. However, in certain limited circumstances, children may be entitled to claim a share of a deceased parent’s property.

There are state laws that protect children against accidental disinheritance. This happened when the birth or adoption of the child occurred after the creation of the will. In this situation, the state assumes that the parent did not intentionally disinherit the child. If the children were unintentionally excluded as beneficiaries, most states will allow them to contest the will. On the other hand, if the omission was intentional, your last will and testament should clearly state your intention that you are not leaving any assets to this child.

Speak to Our Experienced South Portland Inheritance Rights Lawyer Now!

Dealing with inheritance law issues can be overwhelming and stressful for the surviving family members. Careful planning is required to ensure that your assets are distributed to the people you intend to receive them. The task of creating a comprehensive estate plan according to the estate and inheritance laws is the best way to protect yourself in the future and show your family how much you care about them.

Inheritance laws are complex and it is crucial to understand your state’s rules when you are creating your will or planning your estate. Because of this fact, it is highly recommended to consult our competent South Portland inheritance rights attorneys at Jackson & MacNichol.

Our estate planning law firm will help you know and understand your state’s inheritance laws. If you are facing a battle over inheritance rights, you don’t have to go it alone. We are ready to represent you during legal disputes and help you fight for your rights.

Schedule a free consultation with us today, let talk about estate planning and inheritance rights.


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