At this point, the concept of inheritance has become ingrained in human society. Transferring property and other assets from one generation to the next is a long-running theme that began ages ago in civilizations around the world. Today, though, many people take for granted that their parents’ assets will become theirs once their parents pass. Of course, as many people have learned over time, this isn’t necessarily a straightforward process. Many factors have come into play to potentially complicate rightful ownership and the claim to an inheritance.
Exploring Rightful Ownership and Claim of Inheritance
In a nutshell, rightful ownership and claims of inheritance revolve around testamentary freedom. That’s basically people’s rights to do whatever they wish with their property after they pass. People can determine who they want to receive their property when they die. They can create a will or trust and name beneficiaries to receive their assets as they see fit as long as their wishes are within reason.
What Is Rightful Ownership?
Rightful ownership of inheritance is governed by numerous laws and regulations. Generally speaking, a person who is leaving behind assets for his or her family is the rightful owner of said property until he or she passes. In some cases, those grantors can have their assets distributed to beneficiaries before passing. Once those assets are passed along, the beneficiaries become the rightful owners. If you believe you’re not receiving your rightful inheritance, you can legally contest the situation.
How Are Heirs Determined?
As noted, heirs, or beneficiaries, are often determined by a grantor’s wishes. That being said, other factors can also come into play. If someone fails to establish a will before passing, rightful ownership of his or her assets can be determined by blood relation, marriage, and adoption to name a few possibilities.
Determining who receives the deceased’s assets after his or her death if there’s no will generally follows a hierarchy of sorts. If the deceased was unmarried, his or her children may receive the assets in question to be divided equally among them. When there are both a spouse and children, the spouse may receive the lion’s share of the assets with the rest falling to the children. If neither a spouse nor children are involved, the assets may be given to siblings, parents, aunts, uncles, or other living relatives. In the event there are no living spouses or blood relatives, the state may take ownership of the assets.
Staking a Claim
In many cases, people get left out of the mix when doling out inheritances. These could include estranged spouses, children from former marriages, and many others. Those who feel their rights to an inheritance have been overlooked can take legal action to make things right. This can be a difficult process, though. It requires clear documentation detailing why you should have the right to the inheritance. That may include blood tests, birth records, or written and notarized agreements among others. Having legal representation is also recommended due to the complex nature of cases like these.
Receiving What Is Rightfully Yours
On the surface, inheritances may seem fairly straightforward. That’s not necessarily the case these days, though. Broken and blended families have become more common at this point, which challenges the conventional concept of inheritance. Cultural and societal norms may complicate the situation even further. Those are only a few of the aspects that have changed the way inheritances play out. If you’ve been left out of a will or trust, whether intentionally or inadvertently, and you want to claim what’s rightfully yours, legal representation and thorough planning may be the key to success.