What is An Inheritance?

posted by Chris Valentine

Every year in the United States more than 2.8 million people die. This can be a very difficult time for any loved ones that they leave behind. 

However, the death of a loved one can also involve a lot of admin. 46% of American adults have a will in place to distribute their inheritance after they’ve died. So, what is an inheritance?

If you have recently lost a loved one, read on to find out more about inheritances.

What is an Inheritance? 

Inheritance essentially involves bequeathing possessions to loved ones after a person dies. Some of these possessions might be valuable, such as cash, valuable art, or property, or they might be sentimental.

Whether you are inheriting money, inheriting property, or inheriting anything else, most inheritances will be outlined in the last will and testament of the person who has died. This should detail who inherits what upon their death.

Beneficiaries vs. Heirs

When discussing inheritance, you might come across two different terms: beneficiaries or heirs. 

Beneficiaries are people named in a will who receive an inheritance upon the death of the maker. Heirs are people who have a legal right to property. This includes spouses, children, or close family members.

When an heir receives property, this is known as “intestate succession”. Often this happens when an individual has not made a will.

How Does Probate Work? 

After a person dies, their property enters something called probate. This is a type of legal process, which divides assets among heirs and beneficiaries.

Often this begins with their will being reviewed in a probate court. This court will decide whether or not the will was made in sound mind. They will also appoint an executor, who is responsible for dividing up the estate to reflect what is outlined in the will.

If someone dies without making a will, then the probate court will assign an administrator to divide up their estate. They use state laws to do this.

How Does Contesting an Inheritance Work? 

In some cases, you may want to contest an inheritance.

This can happen if you feel that the inheritance outlined by the court or detailed in the will is not fair. You can also contest an inheritance if you feel that the will does not accurately reflect your loved one’s wishes.

If you are going to contest an inheritance, you will need to hire inheritance dispute lawyers. These are experienced, probate lawyers with a thorough knowledge of inheritance laws. They will be able to represent your interests and find ways to contest an inheritance.

Get Help with Your Inheritance Today

So now you know the answer to the question ‘what is an inheritance?’ If you do lose a loved one, it is worth speaking to a probate lawyer about any inheritance that might have been left with you. So, what are you waiting for? 

For more great legal and financial advice, keep scrolling now.

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