banner-image

Laws of Intestacy in Fairfax

As defined by Fairfax law or Virginia law, intestacy means dying without a valid will. When a decedent dies intestate, Virginia law provides for how the real estate and other assets would be distributed and to whom they would be distributed to. For more information on the laws of intestacy in Fairfax, get in touch with a knowledgeable attorney who can guide you through the steps of estate planning and help you determine the most effective way to divide an estate.

What is the Process of Dividing Assets Amongst Children in Virginia?

When distributing assets amongst children, assets could be varied depending on other surviving family members. For example, if there is a surviving spouse and all of the living children were born to both the decedent and the surviving spouse, then all of the estate’s assets could be distributed to the surviving spouse.

If there is a surviving spouse but at least one of the decedent’s children is not a child of the surviving spouse, then one-third of the estate assets are distributed to the surviving spouse and the remaining two-thirds of the assets are distributed equally among all of the decedent children. The changing factor in those two scenarios is, essentially, there is a child of the decedent who does not share the same two parents that the other children of the decedent do, which can make a big difference to the children.

Dividing an Estate with a Surviving Spouse

If there is a surviving spouse but no other descendants or parents, then the surviving spouse would get the entire estate. If there was a surviving spouse with the descendant of both deceased and surviving spouses, then the surviving spouse would get the entire estate.

If there was just a surviving spouse and a parent of the deceased living, then the surviving spouse would get the entire estate. If there was a surviving spouse, a descendant of both deceased and surviving spouse, and a descendant of the surviving spouse who is not a descendant of the deceased, the surviving spouse would get the entire estate. It would only change if there was a descendant of the decedent who is not a child of the surviving spouse.

If the surviving spouse and descendants of the deceased are not descendants of the surviving spouse, that could be a situation where the surviving spouse would get one-third of the estate assets and the decedent’s descendants would share equally the remaining two-thirds of the estate assets.

How can Stepchildren Receive an Inheritance?

A stepchild can receive an inheritance if a stepparent that wishes to provide for a stepchild creates a will that specifically includes a stepchild or that at least specifically names the stepchild as a beneficiary. That way, they can legally provide for the stepchild who has not been legally adopted by them. If a stepparent dies without a will, then the stepchild would not be entitled to inherit from the stepparent’s estate unless the stepchild had been legally adopted by the stepparent.

Can Virginia Capture Property of a Deceased Person?

The law in Fairfax, Virginia deems that the property would go to the city only if there is no living spouse, children, descendants, parents, siblings, nieces, nephews, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and siblings of the grandparents. If there is no surviving maternal or paternal kindred, then the estate would pass to the kindred of the decedent’s spouse, assuming that the decedent and the spouse were married at the time the decedent died. If none of those people survived the decedent, the estate would pass to the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Impact on Adopted Children During Intestacy Proceedings

Adopted children in intestacy proceedings will inherit from their adoptive parent just as if the adopted child was a biological child of the adopted parent. Since the adopted parent effectively stepped into the shoes of the biological parent, the adopted child can only inherit from the adopted parent and can no longer inherit from his or her biological parent. This is the case unless the child is adopted by the spouse of the child’s biological parent and, in that scenario, the child is entitled to inherit from both biological parents as well as the adoptive parent.

Contact a Fairfax Trusts and Estate Lawyer Today

When trying to decide how to plan an estate, it is important to get in touch with an attorney well-versed on the subject. An attorney can provide you with information regarding the laws of intestacy in Fairfax and how they may apply to your situation. By getting in touch with a lawyer, you may be relieving yourself of the daunting task of planning an estate by yourself. Schedule a consultation today to learn more.