It is important to understand that when a person dies intestate, the intestate law is used to find the appropriate inheritors of the deceased property. The intestacy law is used as a guideline of property distribution of the deceased. Therefore it is correct to say that a person who dies without leaving behind the will of distribution of his/her property the deceased died intestate. Therefore in order to fairly divide the left behind property, intestate law is applied which indicates the hierarchy of people who should inherit the property. The intestate lists and the people who are entitled to inherit the property and at the same time defines how these people are related to the deceased. During the division of the property, two tools are used to divide the property which includes per stripe and per capita. The tools are especially used when the number of descendants is large. Below is how the hierarchy is followed.
Spouse of the deceased is the first priority when the distribution of the property of the deceased is done and he/she is entitled to at least inherit an estate. A spouse can get a piece of estate or inherit the whole estate depending on whether the deceased left behind children. In the case where no child was left behind, the spouse is entitled to inherit the whole estate without caring if there are other relatives left behind. Intestate law clearly defines that the legitimate spouse is the one who wed with the deceased and has a certificate of marriage. It is possible to find some jurisdictions where common law marriage is legal.
Children are the second on the intestate hierarchy. The piece of an estate left behind is usually divided equally among the existing children of the deceased if there is no spouse left behind. In case there is a spouse, the rules changes. The spouse is given his/her share and the remaining share is equally subdivided among all the children. It is important to know that deceased adopted children are taken as the biological children. Intestate clearly states that children will not inherit the debt left behind by their parent. It is the responsibility of the probate court to select the guardian who will take care of the children of the deceased.
Thirdly, on the intestate hierarchy are parents and siblings of the deceased. If there is no record of children, spouse or grandchildren, the close people who can inherit the property of a deceased are parents and siblings of the deceased. Under this bracket, parents are considered first and if there are no parents, automatically the siblings become the inheritors.
However, if the above people are absent, then distant relatives are considered the right inheritors. Here are the list of is made up of distant relatives; uncles, aunts, cousins, and grandparents.