Harville-Stein Law Offices, LLC


FOLEY, AL 36535
Phone: 251.979.6641




My Relative Died in Alabama Without a Will

If someone dies without writing a Will, they have died “Intestate”. Each state has laws governing the distribution of property when a person dies Intestate, called “Intestate Succession” and most state laws are generally similar but may not be the same. A summary of some of the laws of Alabama are shown below, but you should remember that these laws may not apply if the deceased was not a resident of Alabama, or if the property is located in another state. In this list, “Issue” means all of the people who have descended from the decedent. This includes children (both natural and adopted), grandchildren (both natural and adopted), great grandchildren, and so on.  This information is provided to give you a general idea of the law and is not intended to provide the complete law or to be acted upon by you as legal advice and is not intended as legal advice.

Generally, in Alabama, if you die without a will, the law provides for distribution as follows:

Property going to the surviving spouse:
  • Entire estate if no surviving issue or parents of decedent;
  • First $100,000, plus ½ of balance of estate if there is no surviving issue but there is surviving parent(s);
  • First $50,000, plus ½ of balance of estate if there are surviving issue all of whom are also issue of surviving spouse, or;
  • ½ of estate if there are surviving issue who are not issue of the surviving spouse.

Property not going to surviving spouse:

  • If there is no surviving spouse, or there is property left after the spouse receives his or her share, it passes under the following priority: All of the property passes to the issue, unless there are none. If none, all passes to the parents. If neither parent is living, the estate passes to siblings, and so on generally under this priority:
    1. Issue
    2. Parents
    3. Brothers and Sisters
    4.  Grandparents
    5. Aunts and Uncles (one-half to maternal side of family, one-half to paternal side of family)
    6. Cousins (one-half to maternal side of family, one-half to paternal side of family)
    7. If none of above, escheats to state of residence


At Harville-Stein Law Offices, we are experienced in probating estates where a family member has died in Alabama without a Will, known as dying Intestate, and the Administration of an Intestate Estate.  In any county in Alabama, including Jefferson County, Shelby County, Talladega County, St. Clair County, the Birmingham and Bessemer area, we can open the Intestate Estate for you.  In certain circumstances, you will not have a family member who is available or qualifies to serve as the Personal Representative or Adminstrator/Administratrix of the Estate and we can evaluate our ability to serve as both the attorney for the Estate and the personal representative, if you desire.  We are able to obtain bonds, a requirement for any Intestate Estate Personal Representative.  We are experienced in obtaining appraisals of real property and personal property and in their sale so that the funds can be divided between the rightful heirs.

  • We have administered Intestate Estates as the Personal Representative
  • We have and can serve as the Attorney for the Estate and the Personal Representative
  • We can obtain bond, a requirement for the Personal Representative to open the Intestate Estate
  • We are experienced in the valuation and sale of homes, cars and other personal property
  • We work efficiently through the Probate process

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