Frequently Asked Questions

How are assets distributed when someone dies without a will?


Section 213 of Title 84 of the Oklahoma Statutes provides the default rules for the distribution of property belonging to someone who dies without a will. A surviving spouse will inherit the entire estate if the deceased has no surviving issue (children, grand-kids, and other direct descendants), and has no surviving parents, or siblings. A surviving spouse will inherit all joint marital property and an undivided 1/3 interest in the remaining estate if the deceased has no surviving issue but is survived by parents and/or siblings. The parents and/or siblings inherit everything else. A surviving spouse inherits half of intestate property and descendants inherit everything else if there is a surviving spouse and surviving issue AND all of the issue are shared by both the deceased and the spouse (i.e. there are no children from outside of the relationship). A surviving spouse inherits half of all marital property and will share the remaining intestate property equally with descendants if the deceased has any surviving issue from outside of the marriage. Children, grandchildren or other surviving issue inherit everything if there is no surviving spouse. Parents or siblings inherit everything if there is no spouse and there are no children. If there are no parents, no surviving issue, and no spouse but there are surviving grandparents, half of the estate passes to surviving paternal grandparents and half passes to surviving maternal grandparents if they are all of the same degree of kinship to the deceased. If there are no surviving issue, parents, grandparents, or issue of parents or grandparents, the entire estate will pass to the next of kin. The next of kin will share the estate based on their relationship with the deceased. If there are no surviving kin, the deceased’s state goes to the state and is used to support the schools. If you don’t want these rules to apply, it is up to you to make changes by creating a will or developing a comprehensive estate plan that will avoid the laws of intestate succession and probate.




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