Although it’s entirely understandable to savor the present, facing the inevitable discussion of what happens when you die can save your loved ones from unnecessary grief. Leaving a last will and testament can help your survivors honor your wishes regarding your estate. But if you die without a will or dying intestate, your property becomes subject to Nevada’s intestate succession laws using the next of kin relationship.
Next of kin are surviving individuals related to you, either by blood or any legal bond, who are in line for your estate’s inheritance. After your surviving spouse, your next of kin in sequential order are your children, grandchildren, other kinds of offspring, parents, siblings and other collateral heirs, such as your nieces and nephews.
Who gets what?
Dying intestate in a community property state like Nevada can be complicated. This system refers to having your surviving spouse receive the other half of the property you acquired as a couple during the marriage. On the other hand, your separate property refers to those you received before marriage, which becomes transferred as per intestate succession. Here are some situations that may apply to you:
- With a spouse and a child: Your spouse receives all community property and half of your separate property, while half of the separate property goes to your child
- With a spouse and more than one child: Your spouse receives all community property and a third of your separate property, while the remaining shares of your separate property are divided evenly among your children
- With a spouse, no children and with parents: Your spouse receives all community property and half of your separate property, while half of the separate property is for your parents
- With a spouse, no children, no parents and with siblings: Your spouse receives all community property and half of your separate property, while half of the separate property is for your siblings
- With a spouse, no children, no parents and no siblings: Your spouse inherits everything
- With children, no spouse, no parents and no siblings: Your children inherit everything
- With parents, no spouse, no children and no siblings: Your parents inherit everything
- With siblings, no spouse, no children and no parents: Your siblings inherit everything
There are other relationship complexities under consideration. For example, your legally adopted children receive as much inheritance as your biological children. However, your foster offspring don’t receive shares by default. If you had children outside of marriage, they only receive an inheritance if the court establishes your paternity. Additionally, if you don’t have a living spouse, children, parents or siblings, your estate lands to your closest living relative, possibly your cousins.
Having the last say
The last thing you want is to leave more questions than answers when you die. There are no explicit guarantees that intestate succession can precisely meet your wishes. What’s within your control’s having the supervision of a legal counsel for a comprehensive estate plan in preparation for end-of-life.