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Hastings Law Journal

Abstract

The laws of intestate succession affect not only decedents who die without comprehensive and valid wills, but their surviving relatives, the state, and the public at large. Intestacy statutes providing for heirs other than surviving spouses are particularly important because such statutes often dispose of the bulk of an estate.

This Note explores the various legislative goals underlying intestacy statutes, such as satisfying a decedent's presumed intentions or fostering simplicity and uniformity of the statutes. The author concludes that no state legislature has adequately promoted these goals within its intestacy statute for heirs other than the surviving spouse and proposes a model intestacy statute for such heirs. The model statute attempts to strike the optimum balance of the many goals and attendant policies that underlie such statutes with the intent of serving the interests of both decedents and those who survive them.

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