Rules & Regulations To Claim For An Ancestral Property In USA

Rules & Regulations To Claim For An Ancestral Property In USA

When it’s time to inherit the ancestral property, some of the other glitches occur all of a sudden because of the absence of a perfect system in place. In some cases of inheritance, the actual or last wishes of the deceased person for his assets surfaces after his untimely death. While in other cases, the deceased's true wishes about his ancestral properties supersede the successor envision.

Assuming that writing your last will and a testament would guarantee a fair and equal distribution of your ancestral properties among all your successors is easy. However, the real test is when you have left the human world and your rightful heirs instead of mourning over your death, greed over your leftover properties, and fighting to get more. Different types of lawyers can help you get your ancestral property.

To avoid any foul play and establish what is legally correct, The U.S. has three systems of inheritance laws, and we have explained each one of them for you to know which one affects the state you live in and how you can claim your rights on it.

Basic Understanding Of The U.S. Inheritance Laws

Basic Understanding Of The U.S. Inheritance Laws

The statutes and regulations that make individuals or legal heirs of a deceased person legally entitled to receive or inherit his ancestral properties are termed inheritance laws. In the event of no will or non-inclusion of all the dead person's assets, the inheritance laws ensure that the beneficiaries acquire some form of inheritance, if not all, in their ancestral properties.

There are certain cases where these laws give certain rights to a few deceased relatives to claim an inheritance in his assets, even if the actual terms of his will do not allow such an act. Typically, the inheritance laws concern the partner/spouse of the person who has expired. However, a few states in the U.S. grant dead person's children the right to claim the assets from their parents. Nonetheless, the deceased may mention certain specific circumstances in their will, according to which his children will be able to claim only a share in the total assets.

Many U.S. states have in place to protect a person from accidental disinheritance. For example, your father’s will predates your brother's birth, but he dies without including the unborn child in his will. Now, suppose his will empowers all his children to claim over his assets except the unborn child. In that case, the laws against accidental disinheritance assume it to be an unintentional omission, giving the unborn child an equal share in all the assets passed on by his dead father. In some states, this law is applicable only in the case of grandchildren.

Suppose an individual passes away without preparing a will. In that case, their estate is considered “intestate,” meaning that an administrator appointed by the court will compile all the assets of the dead and determine the total value, pay his due taxes and/or debts (if any), and divide the rest of the properties based on the state’s laws among the beneficiaries.

If a will does not enclose all of the deceased’s assets, that will may also be considered as “intestate.” If either of the intestate cases, either with a will or without a will, attract the probe court that exercises jurisdiction over the dead’s estate is equally responsible for apportioning all the assets.

The Three Types Of Inheritance Laws In the U.S.

There are three types of US inheritance laws that you should know about and they are listed below.

1.    Common Law:

The standard law policy operates in 38 U.S. states, which instructs that spouses living in these states do not have an automatic right to half of their deceased partner’s assets obtained throughout the marriage. Even after this, many states still give the widowed spouse the right to inherit a third or half of his late spouse’s estate, neglecting the terms of the will.

But, the above particular case is allowed only if the living spouse files a petition in the court for their share. Under this inheritance law, ownership of the property is established either based on the person’s income used to purchase the property or by the name mentioned on the property title.

2.   Community Property:

Community property law is the first type of inheritance law in the U.S., giving each spouse of the deceased a right to automatically own half of what each one of them owned while married. Under community property, half of his property automatically goes to his spouse in the event of the person's death. At the same time, the remaining half is divided amongst the other beneficiaries.

Nine U.S. states follow community property law: California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Louisiana, Idaho, Washington, Wisconsin, and Texas.

3.   Elective Community Property:

Three states in the U.S. have adopted an elective community property system of inheritance. For example, Alaska has had this system working since 1998. Still, it is considered an effective common law state, allowing the spouse to have an automatic right to an inheritance when he/she creates a community property trust with their partner or both sign a written agreement together.

The residents and non-residents in the other two states, namely Tennessee and Kentucky, can create community property through a community property trust.

The Final Thoughts

The process of inheriting ancestral properties involves complications and a lot of legal work. That’s why many just let it go to the trust so that their daily work and life balance is not disturbed.

Therefore, knowing about the inheritance laws prevailing in your state is a must if you want to inherit what is legally yours wholly. You can reach out to property lawyers working in some of the largest law firms in the U.S. and claim your rights.

Post a Comment