The Comprehensive Guide to Probate, Trusts, Estate Planning, and Inheritance Litigation

Who Are Next Of Kin In Alabama?

“Next of kin” under Alabama law for purposes of inheritance means those people who are set to inherit from an intestate estate (where the decedent died without a will).  For inheritance purposes, “next of kin” are often referred to as “heirs at law.”  Next of kin under Alabama law include:

  1. Surviving spouse
  2. Children and descendants
  3. Parents
  4. Siblings or descendants of siblings
  5. Grandparents or descendants of grandparents

 

What Do Next Of Kin Inherit Under Alabama Intestate Succession Law?

The share of the intestate estate that the next of kin heirs at law inherit under Alabama intestate succession law depends on the other survivors of the decedent:

Survivors of Decedent

Share Of Intestate Estate

Surviving spouse only

–      Spouse inherits 100% of the estate

Spouse and children all of whom are children of the spouse

–      Spouse inherits first $50,000 of the probate estate, and ½ the balance

–      Children inherit the balance

Spouse and one or more children who are not children of the spouse

–      Spouse inherits ½ of the probate estate

–      Children inherit the other ½ of the probate estate, per stirpes

Descendants and no spouse

–      Descendants inherit the entire probate estate, per stirpes

Spouse and parent(s), no descendants

–      Spouse inherits the first $100,000 of the probate estate, and ½ of the balance

–      Parent or parents inherits the remaining 1/2

Parent(s), no spouse or descendants

–      Parents inherit the entire probate estate in equal shares if both are alive, or the entire estate goes to the surviving parent

Siblings or descendants of siblings only

–      Siblings or descendants of siblings (nieces and nephews) inherit the entire estate per stirpes

Grandparents or descendants of grandparents only

–      ½ of estate passes to the paternal grandparents if both survive, or to the surviving paternal grandparent, or to the issue of the paternal grandparents if both are deceased, the issue taking equally if they are all of the same degree of kinship to the decedent, but if of unequal degree those of more remote degree take by representation

–      ½ of the estate passes to the maternal grandparents and issue in the same manner

–      If one side has no surviving heirs, the entire estate passes to the relatives on the other side

No surviving family members

–      The State of Alabama receives the entire probate estate.

The Alabama laws governing intestate succession for the next of kin heirs at law can be found at Alabama Code 43-8-41 and 43-8-42.

What Do You Inherit From An Alabama Intestate Estate?

A next of kin intestate heir of an Alabama intestate estate inherits only the assets that are a part of the probate estate.  See our Probate and Non-Probate Assets Chart.

If there are no probate assets, you will not inherit anything.  If your relative died owning only non-probate assets, such as jointly titled property and bank accounts with beneficiary designations, these assets will not enter the probate estate, and Alabama intestate succession law will not apply.

Five Day Survival Period For Heirs

Under Alabama law, a next of kin heir must survive the decedent by five days in order to inherit under the laws of intestate succession.  AL Code § 43-8-43 states:

Any person who fails to survive the decedent by five days is deemed to have predeceased the decedent for purposes of homestead allowance, the exempt property and intestate succession, and the decedent’s heirs are determined accordingly. If the time of death of the decedent or of the person who would otherwise be an heir, or the times of death of both, cannot be determined, and it cannot be established that the person who would otherwise be an heir has survived the decedent by five days, it is deemed that the person failed to survive for the required period. This section is not to be applied where its application would result in a taking of intestate estate by the state under section 43-8-44.

An Alabama probate lawyer can help you determine your rights as next of kin.