Who Are Next of Kin In Rhode Island?

Next of kin in Rhode Island for purposes of intestate succession are:

  1. Surviving spouse
  2. Descendants
  3. Parents
  4. Siblings
  5. Nieces and nephews
  6. Grandparents
  7. Aunts and uncles
  8. Cousins

What Next Of Kin Inherit Under Rhode Island Law?

When a decedent dies intestate (without a will), Rhode Island intestate succession law determines what next of kin heirs inherit from the decedent.  The next of kin that are in line to inherit depends on the other survivors of the decedent.

Survivors of the Decedent

Share of Intestate Estate

Surviving spouse

–          Spouse receives life estate in real property, up to $150,000 worth of real estate value, first $50,000 of personal property, and ½ balance of personal property

–          Balance of estate passes through intestate succession

Surviving spouse and descendants

–          Spouse has the right to use decedent’s intestate real estate for life, up to $150,000 of real property value, and inherits ½ of intestate personal property outright

–          Descendants inherit remainder of the estate

Surviving spouse and parents, no descendants

–          Spouse inherits up to $150,000 worth of intestate real estate, plus the right to use the rest of it for life

–          Spouse inherits $50,000 worth of intestate personal property, plus ½ of the balance

–          Parents inherit everything else

Descendants, no spouse

–          Descendants inherit entire intestate estate

Parents, no spouse, no descendants

–          Parents inherit entire intestate estate

Siblings, no spouse, no descendants, no parents

–          Siblings inherit entire intestate estate

Nieces and nephews, no siblings, no spouse, no descendants, no parents

–          Nieces and nephews evenly split estate

Grandparents

–          Paternal and maternal grandparents split estate evenly

Aunts and uncles

–          Paternal/maternal aunts and uncles split estate evenly

Cousins

–          Paternal/maternal cousins split estate evenly

See Rhode Island General Laws §§ 33-1-1 (Real estate descending by intestacy), 33-1-2 (descent of real estate to paternal or maternal kindred), 33-1-3 (descent when no paternal or maternal kindred survive), 33-1-5 (life estate to spouse), and 33-1-6 (spouse allowance of real estate in fee).

If an inheritance is directed to go to the decedent’s paternal and maternal kindred, if there are no such kindred on one side, the whole shall go to the other side.  If there are no kindred on either part, the whole shall go to the intestate’s surviving spouse.  If there is no surviving spouse, then it goes to the spouse’s kindred as if he or she had survived the decedent and then died entitled to the estate.

What Do Next Of Kin Intestate Heirs Inherit In Rhode Island?

A next of kin intestate heir under Rhode Island law inherits from the probate estate.  Non-probate assets, such as bank accounts with pay-on-death beneficiary designations, or assets in a revocable trust, are not part of the probate estate.  See the Probate and Non-Probate Assets Chart.

Next of kin heirs do not inherit non-probate assets by virtue of being an intestate heir under Rhode Island law.

Rhode Island Survivorship Period For Next Of Kin Intestate Heirs

Rhode Island contains a survivorship requirement for next of kin heirs at law.  In order to inherit under Rhode Island’s intestate succession statutes, the next of kin heir must survive the decedent by 120 hours.  If not, the heir is considered to have predeceased the decedent for intestate succession purposes.  See Rhode Island General Law §33-1-13.

A Rhode Island probate lawyer can help you determine your status and rights as next of kin.

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