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What can you do if you think you're an heir to an estate?

Heirs and beneficiaries stand to inherit a portion of a loved one's estate. Depending on the estate's value and the terms of the inheritance, heirs could be receiving thousands of dollars or property worth even more.

Not all estates contain a will, and with that comes trouble for heirs and beneficiaries. Without a will, the heirs and beneficiaries have to go through the probate process and seek out what they're owed. In fact, only four in 10 American adults have a will, which makes everything much more complicated.

What happens when there is no will for an estate?

When there is no will, the estate has to go through probate. During probate, it is the job of the court to determine how it will distribute the decedent's assets. It's possible for the court not to know about certain heirs or beneficiaries, which is why it's so important that you stay informed.

If someone dies alone or without heirs or beneficiaries near, then the court may not know where to distribute the property from the estate. To resolve this, research has to be done to locate the heirs and possible beneficiaries.

What should you do if you believe you're an heir to a loved one's belongings?

If you are an heir or believe you're an heir, talk to your attorney about asserting your claim to the estate. If there is no will, you will need to make sure the court knows that you are present and ready to accept your share of the decedent's belongings. Your attorney can help you make sure you are notified when they pass and that you are included during the probate process.

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