Nobody likes to ponder one's own mortality, but making a will is a necessity to avoid distribution of your assets in a manner in which you never intended. Below are the specifics of North Carolina laws that deal with property distribution of residents who die intestate.
The following applies to a married decedent:
-- If your spouse survives and you have no children or descendants from any children, and your parents are deceased, all of your personal and real property will pass to your spouse.
-- If either of your parents survive, the first $50,000 of your personal property goes to your spouse, as well as half of any remaining personal property. The remaining half of your personal property passes to your parent(s).
-- When your spouse survives and you have children or descendants from your children, your spouse receives the first $30,000 of your personal property and half of what remains. The other half goes to a single child or their descendants. If there is more than one child or their descendants, the initial $30K of your personal property will pass to your spouse, and a third of the remainder as well. Additional children or their descendant receive two-thirds of the personal property that remains.
For unmarried persons and widows, the below applies:
-- If you have children or they have surviving descendants, all of your personal and real property is divided among them.
-- If your parent(s) survive and you have no children or their descendants, your parent(s) take possession of all that is in your estate.
-- Those who have no children, descendants or living parent(s), but who have siblings surviving will have their siblings split the proceeds of the estate. If they are deceased but have descendants, those descendants are your heirs.
-- If your parents are deceased and you have no siblings, nieces or nephews, but you have living grandparents, half of your estate goes to your paternal grandparents and half to the maternal grandparents. Should they predecease you, the maternal and paternal aunts, uncles and cousins on either side split the estate.
-- Those who die without any living relatives have their estate pass to the state.
Taking the time to draft a will allows your assets and treasured possessions to pass on to those whom you intend to have them.
Source: North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service, "Who Gets Your Property if You Die Without a Will?," accessed April 29, 2016