If a person dies without a will, or if the will is not probated within five years of death, then property in his or her probate estate will be distributed by rules determined by the legislature, known as the law of intestacy.
The law of intestacy in Alabama requires that the estate of a person having children by a previous marriage be divided one-half to the current spouse and one-half to the child or children by a previous marriage. This can create some totally unforeseen consequences for a couple in a second marriage with children by that marriage. The children of that union will take nothing under the law of intestacy while a child from a previous marriage will take one-half.
It is important to evaluate your individual situation to determine what is at risk if you die without a will and how you can structure your assets to assure your property passes in the manner you prefer.