Budgeting Financial Planning Estate Planning Dying Without a Will in West Virginia Laws of Intestacy Succession in the State By Julie Garber Julie Garber Julie Garber is an estate planning and taxes expert with over 25 years of experience as a lawyer and trust officer. She is a vice president at BMO Harris Wealth management and a CFP. Julie has been quoted in The New York Times, the New York Post, Consumer Reports, Insurance News Net Magazine, and many other publications. learn about our editorial policies Updated on February 10, 2022 Reviewed by Thomas J. Catalano Reviewed by Thomas J. Catalano Thomas J Catalano is a CFP and Registered Investment Adviser with the state of South Carolina, where he launched his own financial advisory firm in 2018. Thomas' experience gives him expertise in a variety of areas including investments, retirement, insurance, and financial planning. learn about our financial review board Fact checked by Hans Jasperson Fact checked by Hans Jasperson Hans Jasperson has over a decade of experience in public policy research, with an emphasis on workforce development, education, and economic justice. His research has been shared with members of the U.S. Congress, federal agencies, and policymakers in several states. learn about our editorial policies Photo: Richard Nowitz / Getty Images When a West Virginia resident dies without having made a last will and testament, the intestacy succession laws found in the West Virginia Code will dictate who inherits the probate estate. Below is a summary of the West Virginia intestacy succession laws in various situations. Deceased Person is Survived by a Spouse and/or Descendants Here is what will happen if the deceased person is survived by a spouse and/or descendants (children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, etc.): Survived by a spouse and descendants of that spouse and the spouse has no other children: In this case, the spouse will inherit the entire probate estate. Survived by a spouse and descendants of that spouse and the spouse has other descendants from another relationship: In this case, the spouse will inherit 3/5 of the probate assets and the descendants of the deceased person will inherit the remainder, per stirpes. Survived by a spouse and descendants from someone other than the spouse: In this case, the spouse will inherit 1/2 of the probate assets and the descendants of the deceased person will inherit the remainder, per stirpes. Survived by descendants and no spouse: In this case, the deceased person's descendants will inherit 100% of the probate estate, per stirpes. Survived by a spouse and no descendants: In this case, the spouse will inherit the entire probate estate. Deceased Person is Not Survived by a Spouse or Descendants Here is what will happen if the deceased person is not survived by a spouse or any descendants (children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, etc.): Survived by one or both parents: In this case, the parents will inherit equal shares of the deceased person's probate estate if both are living, or the surviving parent will inherit 100%. Survived by siblings or descendants of siblings and no parents: In this case, the deceased person's siblings and the descendants of deceased siblings (nieces and nephews) will inherit the entire probate estate, per stirpes. Not survived by any family members: If the deceased person is not survived by any family members, then the entire probate estate will escheat to the State of West Virginia. What Will You Inherit From a West Virginia Intestate Estate? What will you inherit if your relative dies without leaving a last will and testament and the relative was a West Virginia resident or owned real estate located in West Virginia? Even if you determine based on the information above that you are entitled to an intestate share of your relative's estate, you may not inherit anything. Why? Because your relative may have left all non-probate property or the debts your relative owed at the time of death may exceed the value of the probate estate which will make the estate insolvent. If you are not sure of your legal rights as an intestate heir in West Virginia, then consult with a West Virginia probate attorney to be sure. Will You Owe Taxes on Your West Virginia Inheritance? West Virginia is among the majority U.S. states that do not collect an estate tax or an inheritance tax at the state level. However, your inheritance may be subject to an estate tax at the federal level, and you may also owe income taxes (state and/or federal) on certain types of assets you inherit. Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Tell us why! Other Submit Sources The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. West Virginia Code. "§42-1-3." West Virginia Code. "§42-1-3A." West Virginia Code. "§42-1-3C." Tax Foundation. "Does Your State Have an Estate or Inheritance Tax?" Internal Revenue Service. "Estate Tax."