If the intestate decedent has no living spouse, children, parents, or siblings, intestacy laws provide mechanisms to determine other blood relatives qualified to take the estate. Overall, there is a strong statutory preference to distribute the decedent’s property to heirs, regardless of how remote they may be to the decedent. Sometimes, the search for heirs can be time-consuming and expensive. The estate bears the expense of a search for heirs. However, in those rare cases where no living heir can be located, then the decedent’s estate will escheat to the state, that is, the state takes ownership of the decedent’s property. Escheat is rare and almost never what the decedent wanted or expected to happen with the estate.

Inside Escheat