Who Are Your Heirs?
Heirs are the individuals who inherit from your estate because they are your relatives. Beneficiaries are those individuals who inherit from your estate because you have included them in your will.
Your heirs inherit from your estate either because your state’s laws protect them from being disinherited or because you die intestate, meaning without a will. For instance, if you create a will before you have children and later die with children some states will still allow your omitted children to inherit a portion of your estate because they are your heirs.
Additionally, if you die intestate your heirs are those members of your family that will inherit your assets. Each state has intestacy laws that prescribe the order of succession among your heirs. However, generally your estate will be given entirely to your spouse or domestic partner if you do not have children. If you do have children, your estate is divided among your spouse or domestic partner and your children. Your state’s intestacy laws determine the specific percentage. If you are unmarried and have no children, your parents will inherit your estate. If your parents are deceased your estate will be divided among any of your siblings. Finally, if you do not have siblings or your siblings are deceased another blood relative will inherit your estate as your heir.
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