Intestate Succession Laws by State

Every state, and the District of Columbia, has its own laws that determine who inherits property when someone dies without a will. While you may assume it's a simple process, there are certain legal terms and specific rules on intestate succession that you should understand. Read on to learn about intestate succession laws by state.

What Is Intestate Succession?

When a person dies without a valid will, his or her estate passes to heirs or certain classes of family members by intestate succession, as prescribed in individual state laws. The purpose of intestate succession statutes is to distribute the decedent's property in an organized and methodical way. States have their own laws that determine how the property will be distributed.

Who Gets the Property by Intestate Succession?

Generally, heirs are grouped in classes, which are created to determine the order of whom the property will transfer to and the share of property among individual heir. The share of the property depends on who survives the decedent. For example, in most states, if a person dies with no surviving spouse but with three children, the children will take the entire estate. But, if the person dies with a surviving spouse and three children, the surviving spouse may take half of the entire estate and the other half to three children. The classes of heirs include the following:

  • The decedent's surviving spouse
  • Descendants (children, grandchildren, and so on)
  • Parents
  • Descendants of decedent's parents (siblings, nieces, and nephews)
  • Descendants of grandparents (aunts and uncles)

If none of the individuals above exist, the property may escheat to the state.

Property and Assets Pass by Intestate Succession

It's important to note that not all types of property pass by intestate succession. Property that you own alone in your name that would have passed through a will affects intestate succession. However, certain types of property are not considered to be part of the decedent's estate for purposes of intestate succession laws, such as: property held in a living trust, life insurance proceeds, payable-on-death (POD) bank account, and any property held in joint tenancy with right of survivorship. Be sure to check your state's intestate succession laws because different states have different list of property and assets that can pass by intestate succession.

State Laws on Intestate Succession

All 50 states and the District of Columbia have their own laws on estates and probate, which include intestate succession. Here's a list of links and citations to intestate succession laws for individual states and the District of Columbia.

State

Citation & Link

Title & Description

Alabama

AL CODE §§ 43-8-40 to 43-8-58

Alabama Code Title 43, Chapter 8 (Probate Code), Article 3 (Intestate Succession)

Alaska

AK ST §§ 13.12.101 to 13.12.114

Alaska Statutes Title 13, Chapter 12, Article 1 (Intestate Succession)

Arizona

AZ REV ST §§ 14-2101 to 14-2114

Arizona Revised Statutes Title 14, Chapter 2, Article 1 (Intestate Succession)

Arkansas

AR CODE §§ 28-9-201 to 28-9-221

Arkansas Code Title 28, Subtitle 2, Chapter 9 (Intestate Succession), Subchapter 2 (Arkansas Inheritance Code of 1969)

California

CA PROBATE §§ 6400 to 6455

California Probate Code, Division 6 (Wills and Intestate Succession), Part 2 (Intestate Succession)

Colorado

CO REV ST §§ 15-11-101 to 15-11-122

Colorado Revised Statutes Title 15, Article 11, Part 1 (Intestate Succession)

Connecticut

CT GEN ST §§ 45a-273 to 45a-468m

Connecticut General Statutes Title 45A, Chapter 802B (Decedents' Estates)

Delaware

DE CODE Tit 12 §§ 501 to 511

Delaware Code Title 12, Part III, Chapter 5 (Intestate Succession)

District of Columbia

DC CODE §§ 19-301 to 19-322

District of Columbia Code Division III, Title 19, Chapter 3 (Intestates' Estates)

Florida

FL ST §§ 732-101 to 732-111

Florida Statutes Title XLII, Chapter 732, Part I (Intestate Succession)

Georgia

GA CODE §§ 53-2-1 to 53-2-51

Georgia Code Title 53, Chapter 2 (Descent and Distribution)

Hawaii

HI REV ST §§ 560:2-101 to 560:2-114

Hawaii Revised Statutes Division 3, Title 30A, Chapter 560, Article II, Part I (Intestate Succession)

Idaho

ID ST §§ 15-2-101 to 15-2-114

Idaho Statutes Title 15, Chapter 2, Part 1 (Intestate Succession)

Illinois

IL ST CH 755 §§ 5/2-1 to 5/2-9

Illinois Statutes Chapter 755, Act 5, Article II (Descent and Distribution)

Indiana

IN CODE §§ 29-1-2-0.1 to 29-1-2-15

Indiana Code Title 29, Article 1, Chapter 2 (Intestate Succession and Rights of Certain Interested Persons)

Iowa

IA CODE §§ 633.210 to 633.231

Iowa Code Title XV, Subtitle 4, Chapter 633, Division IV (Intestate Succession)

Kansas

KS ST §§ 59-501 to 59-514

Kansas Statutes Chapter 59, Article 5 (Intestate Succession)

Kentucky

KY REV ST §§ 391.010 to 391.360

Kentucky Revised Statutes Title XXXIV, Chapter 391 (Descent and Distribution)

Louisiana

LA CIV CODE Tit. I, Art. 880 to 901

Louisiana Civil Code Book III, Title I (Successions), Chapter 2 (Intestate Succession)

Maine

ME REV ST Tit. 18-A §§ 2-101 to 2-114

Maine Revised Statutes Title 18-A, Article II, Part 1 (Intestate Succession)

Maryland

MD CODE, EST & TRUSTS §§ 3-101 to 3-112

Maryland Code, Estates and Trusts, Title 3, Subtitle 1 (Intestate Succession)

Massachusetts

MA GEN LAWS Ch. 190B, §§ 2-101 to 2-114

Massachusetts General Laws Part II, Chapter 190B, Article II, Part 1 (Intestate Succession)

Michigan

MI COMP LAWS §§ 700.2101 to 700.2114

Michigan Compiled Laws Chapter 700, Article II, Part 1 (Intestate Succession)

Minnesota

MN ST §§ 524.2-101 to 524.2-123

Minnesota Statutes Chapter 524, Article 2, Part 1 (Intestate Succession)

Mississippi

MS CODE §§ 91-1-1 to 9-1-31

Mississippi Code Title 91, Chapter 1 (Descent and Distribution)

Missouri

MO REV ST §§ 474.010 to 474.155

Missouri Revised Statutes Title XXXI, Chapter 474 (Intestate Succession and Wills)

Montana

MT CODE ANN §§ 72-11-101 to 72-11-104

Montana Code Annotated Title 72, Chapter 11 (Intestate Succession)

Nebraska

NE REV ST §§ 30-2301 to 30-2312

Nebraska Revised Statutes Chapter 30, Article 23, Part 1 (Intestate Succession)

Nevada

NV REV ST §§ 134.005 to 134.210

Nevada Revised Statutes Title 12, Chapter 134 (Succession)

New Hampshire

NH ST §§ 561:1 to 561:21

New Hampshire Statutes, Title LVI, Chapter 561 (Descent, Distribution, and Advancements)

New Jersey

NJ 3B §§ 5-1 to 5-14.1

New Jersey Statutes Title 3B, Chapter 5, Article 1 (Intestate Succession)

New Mexico

NM ST §§ 45-2-101 to 45-2-122

New Mexico Chapter 45, Article 2, Part 1 (Intestate Succession)

New York

NY EST POW & TRST §§ 4-1.1 to 4-1.6

New York Estates, Powers, and Trusts Law Article 4, Part 1 (Rules Governing Intestate Succession)

North Carolina

NC GEN ST §§ 29-1 to 29-30

North Carolina General Statutes Chapter 29 (Intestate Succession)

North Dakota

ND CENT CODE §§ 30.1-04-01 to 30.1-04-21

North Dakota Century Code Title 30.1, Article II, Chapter 30.1-04 (Intestate Succession)

Ohio

OH REV CODE §§ 2105.01 to 2105.39

Ohio Revised Code Title XXI, Chapter 2105 (Descent and Distribution)

Oklahoma

OK ST §§ 84-4-211 to 84-4-232

Oklahoma Statutes Title 84, Chapter 4 (Succession)

Oregon

OR REV ST §§ 112.015 to 112.115

Oregon Revised Statutes Title 12, Chapter 112 (Intestate Succession and Wills)

Pennsylvania

PA ST 20 P.a.C.S.A. §§ 2101 to 2110

Pennsylvania Statutes Title 20, Chapter 21 (Intestate Succession)

Rhode Island

RI GEN LAWS §§ 33-1-1 to 33-1-13

Rhode Island General Laws Title 33, Chapter 1 (Rules of Descent)

South Carolina

SC CODE §§ 62-2-101 to 62-2-114

South Carolina Code of Laws Title 62, Article 2 (Intestate Succession and Wills)

South Dakota

SD CODE LAWS ANN. §§ 29A-2-101 to 29A-2-114

South Dakota Codified Laws Annotated Chapter 29A-2, Part 1 (Intestate Succession)

Tennessee

TN CODE §§ 31-2-101 to 31-2-110

Tennessee Code Title 31, Chapter 2 (Intestate Succession)

Texas

TX EST §§ 201.001 to 201.003

Texas Estates Code Title 2, Subtitle E, Chapter 201, Subchapter A (Intestate Succession)

Utah

UT CODE §§ 75-2-101 to 75-2-114

Utah Code Title 75, Chapter 2, Part 1 (Intestate Succession)

Vermont

VT ST Tit. 14 §§ 301 to 338

Vermont Statutes Title 14, Part 2, Chapter 42 (Descent and Survivors' Rights)

Virginia

VA CODE §§ 64.2-200 to 64.2-206

Virginia Code Title 64.2, Subtitle II, Chapter 2 (Descent and Distribution)

Washington

WA REV CODE §§ 11.04.015 to 11.04.290

Washington Revised Code Title 11, Chapter 11.04 (Descent and Distribution)

West Virginia

WV CODE §§ 42-1-1 to 42-1-10

West Virginia Code Chapter 42, Article 1 (Descent)

Wisconsin

WI ST §§ 852.01 to 852.14

Wisconsin Statutes Probate, Chapter 852 (Intestate Succession)

Wyoming

WY ST §§ 2-4-101 to 2-4-214

Wyoming Statutes Title 2, Chapter 4 (Intestate Succession)

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When it comes to intestate succession, there are specific state laws you need to understand. If you have issues or questions regarding intestate succession or the validity of a will, contact an experienced attorney for a free case review. An experienced attorney can guide you through laws that are applicable to your situation.

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