If you do not write out a will, the state of North Carolina will disperse your estate based on intestacy laws. These laws establish a hierarchy of family members who could take possession of your property after your death.
You probably worry the most about your children inheriting from you. Smart Asset explains how state law addresses the intestate inheritance of different types of children.
Whether you have a spouse or not, your biological children are likely to inherit at least a part of your estate. In fact, your children will get all of your estate if there is no spouse in the picture. Even if a spouse survives you, intestate laws may grant a third of your estate to one child or two-thirds to multiple children.
Children that you have out of wedlock also stand to inherit from you. However, you must establish your parentage or intestate laws might not apply to them.
If you have one or more children that you have adopted, take heart that intestacy laws include them as well. Adopting a child means your child enjoys the same legal rights that your biological children have, including inheritance rights.
Children that do not inherit
Sometimes intestacy law will exclude certain children. Your stepchildren and children you foster do not have inheritance rights. Also, if someone that is not your spouse adopts one of your children, state law will not consider that child as your intestate heir.
Given that intestacy could prevent someone you love from inheriting from you, writing out a will may be a better solution if you want to make sure certain family members do not lose out.