Dying Intestate Massachusetts

Married with no children
1) Current law:

  • If there are no surviving children or other kindred of the decedent, or the estate is valued under $200,000 the surviving spouse gets the whole estate.
  • If the decedent leaves kindred (but no children) and the estate is valued over $200,000, the surviving spouse is entitled to the first $200,000 plus one half of the remaining personal and real property.

2) Effective July 2, 2011, the law changes:

  • If there are no surviving children but a parent of the decedent survives the decedent, the spouse will receive the first $200,000 plus three quarters of any balance of the intestate estate.
  • If all of the decedent’s surviving descendants  are also descendants of the surviving spouse and the surviving spouse has one or more surviving descendants who are not descendants of the decedent, the surviving spouse will inherit the first $100,000 plus one half of any balance of the intestate estate.
  • If one or more of the decedent’s surviving descendants are not descendants of the surviving spouse, the surviving spouse will receive the first $100,000 plus one half of any balance.
Married with child or children
If all of the children are from the marriage between the decedent and the surviving spouse, the surviving spouse receives 100% of the estate.
Order of estate distribution if spouse survives
1) spouse

2) children and the descendants of those children

3) parents

4) siblings and their descendants

5) next of kin (If there are two or more collateral kin in equal degree claiming through different ancestors, those claiming through the nearest ancestor will be preferred.)

No spouse survives (or the deceased was single) but there are other relatives
See numbers 2 through 5 above.
No surviving relatives
If there are no surviving relatives, the estate will go to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts unless the deceased is a veteran who died while a member of the Soldiers’ Home in Massachusetts or the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke; in that case, the estate will go to the benefit of the legacy fund or legacy account of the soldiers’ home of which he was a member.
State link
http://tinyurl.com/d5ny6j
Other links
http://www.mass.gov/legis/laws/mgl/193-1.htm
Special notes
Massachusetts recently passed new laws related to inheritance and shares of property not disposed of by will.  Those laws will be effective July 2, 2011.  We have provided a link to the new laws under the state link and a link to those in effect through July 1, 2001 under other links.  The information provided above reflects current law and indicated the changes that will occur. Relatives of half blood inherit the same share they would inherit if they were of the whole blood.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>