The Intestacy Calculators formerly available at MyStateWill.com are being updated with new features and moved to this site. They have also been renamed to more appropriately reflect to complexity of each program’s function, which must analyze the unique set of user facts in comparison with the applicable laws to determine those who qualify as the legal heirs before ultimately determining the required division among those heirs. Each Intestacy Evaluator℠ is a separate program and, as each state has a unique set of intestate laws, every state’s Intestacy Evaluator℠ must be individually coded before release.
Who qualifies as any given person’s legal heirs when there isn’t a valid will? The answer relies upon many factors, such as where a person permanently resided, where the person owned real estate, the combined value of the person’s assets, and, in some states, the value of that person’s real estate and personal property. One of the more important factors is the family relationship each surviving relative has with the deceased person, as well as the relationship any individual surviving relative has with every other surviving relative.
You can get the answer by examining the specific financial and family circumstances of any person, such as by this example, and then applying those facts to the relevant laws, such as the California intestacy statutes shown here.
You can also get the answer by using that state’s Intestacy Evaluator℠ and clicking the answers to simple, single topic questions, as shown by the example video here.
Do you really know what happens to your property if you die without a will? Some common misconceptions about what happens to your property when you die without a will, or “intestate”, include having all of your property being given to charity or to the state. Another common misconception, with more serious consequences, is the belief that a surviving spouse is always granted all or substantially all of the deceased spouse’s intestate estate.
In reality, much of the answer to these questions about the distribution of intestate property depends upon where you permanently reside and which of your family members are living at the time of your death, as these will determine which intestacy laws will apply in order to determine the proper order of intestate succession. Some other factors that affect your intestate estate’s distribution include how the property is owned, where the property is located, and even the family relationship that your living relatives have with one another.
Making the answer to this question even more difficult is the fact that every American state has its own laws that determine who will own the property of every intestate decedent and none of the states follow the exact same system. What is possibly the most important factor to understand is that these intestacy laws apply to every person.
With each state having its own unique laws, generalized statements about the process are frequently inaccurate. The complexity of these laws also makes written examples difficult to understand, as well as inapplicable to most people. Although these laws apply to everyone, it is incredibly difficult to find real examples of how they are applied.
Certain sites reprint the intestacy statutes, but even people who are familiar with the laws often have to sketch out diagrams to work with certain fact patterns. There are also many sites with generalized “what if” scenarios that discuss basic intestate distribution possibilities. However, these discussions don’t address every meaningful “what if” scenario, much less every possible scenario. More importantly, statute reprints and generalized discussions don’t perform any of the mathematical calculations.
Kurt R. Nilson’s Intestacy Evaluators℠ are the first interactive programs that give personally meaningful examples of how the intestate laws operate by determining any person’s heirs, together with the dollar amount of the estate each heir will receive, based upon individual family and financial circumstances entered by the user.