Dying without a will in North Dakota

Also known as "passing intestate"

When someone dies without a Will in North Dakota, state law directs who gets the decedent's property.

This is known as dying intestate, and when this happens the property is governed by intestate succession laws.

Generally, only spouses, registered domestic partners, and blood relatives inherit under intestate succession, while unmarried partners and friends do not.

The general order of relatives who will inherit the decedent's probate property is:

  • Surviving spouse
  • Children and grandchildren
  • Parents
  • Siblings
  • Grandparents
  • Aunts and uncles
  • Other extended family

And it's important to remember that many types of assets may be inherited outside of the probate process, regardless of whether there is a will or not.

For those items, intestate succession laws do not apply.

Some of those examples include:

  • Property titled to a living trust
  • Life insurance proceeds with a named beneficiary
  • Funds in an IRA, 401(k), or other retirement account with a named beneficiary
  • Securities held in a transfer-on-death account
  • Payable-on-death bank accounts
  • Property owned in joint tenancy or tenancy by the entirety with someone else