What happens during probate if an asset is not assigned a beneficiary

what happens during probate if an asset is not assigned a beneficiary

This is a normal question which people often think about estate planning. What happens when an asset does not have a beneficiary in a probate? Well, the answer lies with a probate attorney. He can help you get a perfect solution for this question. When a family loses a loved one, they have to face various issues. One major issue is concerning financial issues, especially the probate ones. However, what happens if the deceased person did not assign a beneficiary for the assets? In that case, what will happen to the asset? Who will take it? Can the court help in this regard.

Well, your probate attorney becomes an indispensable asset during this time. Probate laws can be complex in such situations. Thus, you need a person who can assist you in coming out of this tricky situation. He or she possesses adequate training to make this process hassle-free. Let us read what happens when an asset does not have a beneficiary.

Probate Law Waits For No One

Unfortunately, probate laws do not wait for anyone. They work in a timely manner. The court has a separate procedure for cases when a deceased did not leave behind a will or if there is no beneficiary for an asset. In such a case, the deceased possesses an intestate asset. The court handles the distribution of these assets. You can term this process is known as estate administration. As per the law, such assets go to the nearest living relative of the deceased. Moreover, this law applies to the assets which the deceased owned at any point. However, the assets such as properties which get transfer to any trust or life insurance deeds do not come under this aspect.

Who Gets In Charge During The Probate?

If there is no will to name the beneficiary for the assets, the ball lies in the state’s court. The state law then provides a list of people. These people are the ones who are eligible to fill up this role. When the probate court’s proceeding becomes necessary, the court gets to select a person who is high on that priority list. Usually, a spouse or a domestic partner gets priority when the process starts. The next on the line are the adult kids. Remaining family members get on the list after the kids. 

Key Aspects Of Intestate Succession

Here are the key aspects of the intestate succession which can help you understand the process better.


The person who gets into a legal marriage with the person at the time of the demise is given the status of spouse. However, there are certain confusions regarding the same. If the couple had initiated the divorce proceedings or if they were separate, the person cannot be termed as a spouse. There are some states that allow common-law marriages. To get into a common-law marriage, the couple should live together, and present themselves as a married couple to the world. Many US states now allow same-sex marriages are allowed now in US state. Thus, the same-sex couples also enjoy the same rights as other legal married couples. 


There are many states which make use of the term “issue” when they refer to children. Now, states accept adopted kids as beneficiary when there is no will or no beneficiary. Thus, adopted and biological kids both get the benefit of inheritance under a probate court. There are some states that do not consider step-children when they want to select a beneficiary. However, some states first consider the relationship between the kids and the parents. Courts do not consider foster kids as lawful inheritors. If the kid is conceived before but born after the parent’s demise, he can also be included. 


Brothers and sisters come under the category of siblings. The intestate law includes siblings and half-siblings under this category. Also, the law can include half-siblings. These are the kids whom the family adopts. However, step brothers and sisters do not come under this list. A probate attorney can lend you a helping hand in understanding these aspects. 

Final Words

There are some probate laws which states follow when the deceased does not leave behind a beneficiary for the assets. These laws are necessary and u can take help from a probate attorney to know the details. You can understand the laws and then file for probate in such a situation. Having a clear picture can help you make the process easier and problem-free.

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