Who Inherits if There's No Will in Connecticut?

by Anna Assad

Your wishes for property distribution after you die in Connecticut may not be honored if you don't leave a valid will behind. State intestacy laws dictate who gets your property and in what shares if you don't make a will or if your will doesn't meet legal standards. The laws place spouses, parents and children first, with other blood relatives inheriting if you don't have a spouse, child or parent that survives you.

Spouse

Your spouse inherits everything if you have no living parents, children or descendants of your children. If you have a spouse and one or more living parents, your spouse gets the first $100,000 of your estate plus 75 percent of the balance after debts and expenses are settled. Your surviving parents receive the remaining 25 percent. If you have surviving children, your spouse gets the first $100,000, but only 50 percent of the estate's balance since your children receive the other 50 percent share.

Children

Your surviving children inherit all of your estate if you don't have a living spouse. If you have a surviving spouse, they get 50 percent of the balance after debt and expense settlement. If you have a deceased child, any of that child's descendants, such as your grandchildren or great-grandchildren, take the deceased child's share of the estate. Your surviving children get their share even if they are not the children of your surviving spouse.

Parents

Your living parents inherit everything if you don't leave a surviving spouse, children or descendants of your deceased children. If you have a surviving spouse, your parents inherit 25 percent of the balance of your estate after debt and expenses, but only after your spouse takes the first $100,000 plus the remaining 75 percent of the estate.

Other Relatives

If you don't have a surviving spouse, parents, children or descendants of your deceased children, your siblings take your entire estate. If you have a deceased sibling, their descendants get that sibling's share. Your legal next-of-kin, such as aunts, uncles and cousins, inherit equally if you don't have any siblings, nieces or nephews. But, if you have no surviving next-of-kin, your stepchildren and any descendants of deceased stepchildren get your entire estate. In the event you have no stepchildren, your estate goes to the state of Connecticut as abandoned property.

Exceptions

Some assets pass outside Connecticut's estate laws, whether you leave a valid will or not. Property, such as a home, owned by the deceased as a joint tenant with another person usually goes to the surviving joint tenant. Assets with a named beneficiary, such as life insurance policies, go to the beneficiary named by the deceased. Other property that may pass outside your estate includes accounts with "payable upon death" clauses and retirement or investment accounts.