Intestate Succession Laws

Under North Carolina's Intestate Succession Laws, certain kinds of assets, such as insurance policies' proceeds with specific designated beneficiaries and property jointly owned with survivorship rights are not affected by the Intestate Succession Laws, even if the deceased died intestate. If a person was a North Carolina resident when the person died without a will, all of that person's personal property, whether it is in North Carolina or not, is distributed according to the North Carolina's Intestate Succession Laws. Real property that is located in North Carolina is also distributed according to North Carolina's Intestate Succession Laws, but real property located outside of North Carolina is distributed according to the intestate laws of the state the real property is located in. If the deceased is survived by a spouse, but there are no surviving children or parents, all of the real and personal property goes to the spouse. If the deceased is survived by one or both parents and a spouse the first $50,000 of the personal property goes to the Spouse. One­half of the remaining property goes to the spouse and the other half to the parents. If the deceased is survived by a spouse and one child or grandchild the first $30,000 of personal property goes to the Spouse. One­half of the remaining property goes to the spouse and the other half to the child or grandchild. If the deceased is survived by a spouse and two or more children or grandchildren the spouse receives the first $30,000 of the personal property. One­third of the remaining property goes to the spouse and two­thirds go to the children or grandchildren. If the deceased died either single or widowed and is survived by children or grandchildren all property (both real and personal) go to the children or the children's children. If the deceased died single or widowed and is survived by parents but by no children, all property (both real and personal) goes to the parents. If the deceased is survived by siblings, but not by a spouse, children, grandchildren or parents, all property (both real and personal) goes to the deceased's siblings or the sibling's children. If the deceased is not survived by a spouse, children, grandchildren, parents, siblings, nieces or nephews, then one­half of the estate goes to the paternal grandparents, but if none are surviving then to paternal uncles, aunts or their children and the other half goes to the maternal grandparents, but if none are surviving, then to Maternal Uncles, Aunts or their decedents. If there is a party on one side that can inherit but no one on the other side, that party shall inherit it all. If the deceased is not survived by any of the above, the estate goes to the State who uses the estate's proceeds to help North Carolina residents who are students of higher education at a North Carolina school.

The information on this page is meant to provide a general overview of the law. The laws in your state and/or city may deviate significantly from those described here. If you have specific questions related to your situation you should speak with a local attorney.

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