Intestate succession – What is it, definition and concept

Intestate succession, also known as legal succession or intestate succession, is the way of inheriting when there is no will or it is ineffective. It will be civil law that regulates the characteristics of these successions in aspects such as, for example, the order to be inherited.

In other words, intestate succession is the way of inheriting without the deceased having left his will on how to distribute his estate in a will. This type of succession also applies if there is a will, but it is invalid or ineffective.

How will the people called to succeed inherit if the deceased did not indicate anything? Civil law stipulates the order of succession, beginning with direct descendants. For example, if the deceased had three children, these are the ones called to succeed. In this situation, as the heirs are of the same degree, the estate of the deceased will be divided into three equal parts.

Let us remember that there are two types of succession in law (which are not mutually exclusive):

  • Tested: The deceased has validly left his will on the distribution of his estate in a will.
  • Intestate: The deceased has not left any will determining the fate of his estate. Or it may be that there is a will, but it is ineffective.

Characteristics of intestate succession

The characteristics of intestate succession are mainly:

  1. Supplementary: The will of the deceased always predominates to know how the estate should be distributed, so if there is a will, it must be respected and the testated succession will be opened.
  2. Legality: Intestate succession is fully regulated by law.
  3. Concurrence: Testate and intestate succession may concur, it is fully compatible. This usually happens when there is a will, but it is invalid, somewhere. Therefore, the will will be respected in the part that is still valid and intestate succession will be used for the part that has been considered ineffective or invalid.
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When should an intestate succession be opened?

Only under certain assumptions defined in the Civil Code, intestate succession may be opened:

  • That the person dies without a will.
  • That the will be null.
  • When the heir that had been instituted in the will had died before the testator.
  • That the will is not complete, for example, it is only dedicated to leaving a specific asset to a child and does not dispose of the rest of the estate.

How does intestate succession work?

Once it is verified that there is no will and the intestate succession is opened, the order of inheriting (who will inherit first) is defined as follows:

Image Intestate Succession Page 0001

Who can not happen?

In both testate and intestate successions there are heirs who are unable to inherit. In the second case, these are:

  • associations or corporations.
  • The one who had been convicted of crimes against sexual indemnity, crimes of injury or attempt against the life of the deceased.
  • The one who had accused the deceased of a crime being a false complaint, the deceased being sentenced for it.
  • The heirs who, through violence, threats or fraud, have forced the testator to testate in some way.

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