There are a few things you should always keep in mind when determining heirship for an individual who died intestate while owning interest in a parcel:
1. As usual, the exact laws vary by state, so, regardless of where the decedent lived, make sure you are apply the laws of the state in which the property lies. The main difference among the state statutes is the portion of interest allotted to the decedent’s spouse.
2. Additionally, the laws of descent and distribution have changed throughout the years. Make sure to apply the ones that were in place at the time of the decedent’s death (as opposed to the current laws). Updates to the spouse’s portion make up the majority of the changes in the statutes throughout time.
3. Although you always need to refer back to the relevant statutes when determining heirship, it is helpful to remember that, if you don’t take into account the spouse’s portion, the decedent’s interest is generally distributed in the following order:
4. Finally, when calculating interest, do not distribute a decedent’s interest to someone who predeceased him or her. A deceased person cannot inherit interest.