Inheritance Rights – RI & MA Probate Attorney
Your closest relatives may have a right to claim part of your estate. The laws concerning inheritances vary between Rhode Island and Massachusetts, but there are some general laws that apply to the spouses and children of a deceased person.
Contact Rhode Island Probate Attorney Rui Alves for a FREE initial consultaion about yourInheritance Rights at:
(401) 942-3100 or EMAIL firstname.lastname@example.org now.
Leaving a will is the best way to ensure heirs or descendants may have an inheritance from your estate if you wish to wills estates to them. Issues of property distribution may arise when a birth parent or adoptive parent dies without making a valid will or without naming an heir to particular property (referred to as intestacy”). In these cases, Rhode Island and Massachusetts state inheritance law determines who may inherit from whom.
Inheritance Rights - Spouse’s and Children’s Right to Inherit
Inheritance rights encompass every imaginable sector of relationships. In any given instance, either a family member or friend, may feel that they have a right to a portion of the decedent’s estate. The probate court follows statutory guidelines for determining the inheritance rights of any party to a contested or uncontested Will or Trust situation.
Some of the laws may vary from state to state, which is why it is vitally important to obtain the services of a qualified estate planning and probate attorney prior to engaging in any kind of legal claims regarding a Will or Trust.
In Rhode Island, if a decedent leaves a Will or Trust, the Court will not entertain other variations unless the document is contested in some way by valid beneficiaries. Inheritance rights primarily apply to those situations where a decedent has not left a Will or Trust in place for the distribution of their estate.
A spouse cannot be completely disinherited from a Will or Trust. In community property states, the spouse is entitled to and legally owns one-half of all of the marital assets accumulated during the marriage.
Rhode Island is not a community property state, and follows the law allowing a spouse to claim one-third to one-half of the deceased spouse’s estate, regardless of whether there were any provisions made in the Will or Trust. In some instances the amount the surviving spouse is entitled to claim depends upon the length of the marriage. If the surviving spouse says or does nothing to contest the Will or Trust, then the document will stand as it was written.
The act of divorcing negates any gifts or inheritances left to a spouse in a Will automatically. However, to be safe, it is always best to rewrite your Will or Trust following any major life changing event.
Children’s Inheritance Rights
Children are not usually entitled to inherit anything of their parent’s estate. Children may be entitled to claim a share of their parents’ property upon the death of their parents, and most states have laws that protect against children being accidentally disinherited. The circumstances where a new child is not listed along with their siblings, will leave the Court to decide that the parents simply never had the chance to revise the Will to include the new child and they will inherit along with their siblings in equal shares.
In some states the head of the family is prohibited from leaving the familial residence to anyone other than the surviving spouse or minor child. And some states include not only the children, but grandchildren if a child of the decedent has died.
If you want to purposely leave anyone from inheriting any portion of your estate, you must specify and stipulate those very words in the body of your Will or Trust. Otherwise, the Court will follow the laws set for inheritance rights in your State at the time of your death.
All 50 states have intestacy laws on file. These laws provide for situations where the decedent did not leave a Will or Trust. All 50 states also have laws on the books that provide for how adoptive children will be treated in intestate situations. This means that the adoptive children will have rights of inheritance through both their biological parents, if known, and their adoptive parents as well until such time as the adoption is legal. The adoption then ends their relationship legally with their biological parents. Certain states will allow the biological parent to remain legally responsible as well if it is stated in the adoption papers.
Whenever any situation in your life changes, marriage, divorce, birth of a child, you should make the necessary changes to your Will, Trust or other estate planning documents immediately and destroy the old ones to avoid unnecessary confusion.
If you or your loved ones are in need of Inheritance Law Counseling in RI or MA contact Probate Lawyer Rui Alves for a FREE initial consultaion at: (401) 942-3100 or EMAIL email@example.com now.
Wills & Trusts in Rhode Island and Massachusetts
Probate courts are divided by counties in the State of Rhode Island, however each court uses the same documentation and procedure depending upon the case. Though Massachusetts combines the Probate in with the Family Court, Rhode Island has a separate court system for probate, and there are 39 courts throughout the state.
An estate must remain open in the State of Rhode Island for at least 6 months, and can stay open for as long as it takes to settle the estate, but usually not more than 18 months for an average estate. If you are interested in avoiding the probate process entirely, you will need to have the sound legal advice and planning of an attorney approved estate plan.
Most estate plans designed to avoid probate procedure, will include the gifting of assets during the lifetime of the decedent, a Living Trust, and joint-tenant property ownership. Even in the case of a well executed estate plan, the trustee will still need to distribute the assets according to the wishes of the deceased, and a will is not the same thing as an estate plan.
If You Have a Will
The process of probate can be of a shorter duration, and less involved, if you have a will. With a will, a simple petition to the court to appoint an executor or executrix, together with notice to the heirs under the will, which can be waived if you are in contact with them, on good terms, and they opt to waive notice of the hearing, is all that is needed to begin the probate process.
Once the court has appointed the fiduciary, they are then responsible for taking an inventory of the assets of the deceased, and payment of all debts and taxes, and if necessary sale of estate assets, and distributions to heirs.
If You Do Not Have a Will
The complexities of probating an estate grow when someone dies without leaving a will, or intestate. Heirs will be determined by the court, and assets distributed according to statutory law first to the children of the deceased, then to the parents of the deceased, then to the brothers and sisters and their descendents. In the case of no will, the court will notify the surviving heirs of the court date and an administrator or administratrix will be appointed at that time. The administrator will have all of the same fiduciary duties as an executor or executrix.
In either instance, whether your loved one has left a will, or not, you will want the advice and counsel of a good probate attorney to help you file the correct paperwork on time, and to appear at hearings before the Probate Court with you.
If you or your loved ones are in need of Custom Wills & Trusts in RI or MA contact Probate Lawyer Rui Alves for a FREE initial consultaion at: (401) 942-3100 or EMAIL firstname.lastname@example.org now.
Probate Court of the City of Providence
City Hall, 5th Floor
25 Dorrance Street
Providence, RI 02903
Providence Probate Court is located on the fifth floor of City Hall.The Providence Probate Judge is John E. Martinelli; the Clerk of the Court is Paul V. Jabour, Esq. Both are elected by the City Council and serve for a term of six (6) years. If the judge is unable to hear a particular case, the clerk sits in his stead.
Monday – Friday
8:30 – 4:30
Monday – Friday
8:30 – 4:00
This court has jurisdiction over the following types of case:
- Decedent’s estates; this includes persons who have died with a Will (testate) or those without one (intestate).
- Adult Limited Guardianships, either of the person, estate or both.
- Minor Guardianships, either of the person, estate or both.
- Adult Adoptions
- Name Changes
FREE initial consultation is available. Please call (401) 942-3100 or email email@example.com to get yours today.