When people die, they leave behind their property; vehicles, houses, businesses, money, lands and many more. This property is generally distributed according to the wishes of the deceased (usually written in the Will). The one who takes over the property after someone dies is called an heir.
Sometimes, the property’s owner may die without writing a will. This makes it difficult to identify and distribute the property to the rightful heirs.
Inheritance follows a specific procedure and is done only after a person dies. In this article, we tell you everything about inheritance.
How Is Inheritance Distributed?
Inheritance is distributed according to the will written by the deceased. The Will acts as a medium of communication between you and those you leave behind after your demise. It is written when a person still lives, and it is regularly updated to include all your life changes, including things like marriage, death in the family, or when you get more property.
You can write a will in three ways; write it yourself, let a paralegal write it for you or, have a lawyer write it on your behalf. If you don’t have much property and understand what the law says about inheritance, you can write your Will and sign it yourself. If you have considerable property or money and don’t understand the laws on inheritance, it is best to seek help from a lawyer.
A will spells out clearly the beneficiaries of your property after you die. The heirs may be your spouse, your children, close relatives, or even your friends. The property may be distributed out evenly among the heirs if the will is not specific. However, it is good to specify what goes to who in your will to avoid quarrels and difficulties in distributing your inheritance after you pass away.
After you write your will, you must store it at a safe place and where your executor can easily find it after your demise.
Again, before the inheritance process commences, the will must be approved by the probate and an executor assigned to perform the duty.
What If There Is No Will?
Sometimes, a person may die without writing down his or her wishes. This complicates the passing of property to the heirs. You’ve heard of people fighting and killing each other because of inheritance property. Such cases occur when there is no will to govern the sharing of property.
However, the absence of a will doesn’t mean inheritance can’t take place. In fact, an heir can still enjoy the benefits of inheritance advance as the probate court processes the inheritance. In such an event, all eyes are directed to the probate court to determine the heirs and how the property and assets of the deceased should be distributed. This is done per the laws in your region or province.
If there’s no will, the probate will check whether the deceased named any persons on bank accounts, stocks, retirement plans, brokerage accounts, and many other accounts. However, things like jewelry, real estate, and heirlooms are hard to allocate in the absence of a will.
Usually, the probate process is costly and takes months or even years when there’s no will.
What Are Inheritance Restrictions And How Do They Work?
In some cases, an inheritance comes with some cutbacks. This happens when the deceased doesn’t want his or her property to be misused or mismanaged. The will can restrict the inheritance to specific uses like medical expenses, education and upkeep.
Another common restriction allows beneficiaries to receive their shares only after they reach adulthood or achieve a specified milestone like graduation.
Another inheritance cutback involves how the property is distributed. The deceased may specify the inheritance to be made in portions/installments.
All these restrictions are aimed at ensuring that the beneficiaries spend the inheritance wisely.
The inheritance process can be both easy and challenging. It is easy when the deceased leaves behind a written will highlighting how the property will be shared among the heirs. The process is complex when there is no will to govern the distribution of property. In some cases, the deceased may restrict property distribution to specific people or uses, often known as inheritance restriction. When writing your will, it is best to involve a lawyer.