Rhode Island Intestacy Laws
33-1-1 Real estate descending by intestacy to children or descendants, parents, or brothers and sisters.
Whenever any person having title to any real estate of inheritance shall die intestate as to such estate, it shall descend and pass in equal portions to his or her kindred, in the following course:
(1) First to his children or their descendants, if there are any.
(2) Second if there be no children nor their descendants, then to the parents in equal shares, or to the surviving parent of such intestate.
(3) Third if there is no parent, then to the brothers and sisters of the intestate, and their descendants.
33-1-2 Descent of real estate to paternal or maternal kindred.
If there is no parent, nor brother, nor sister, nor their descendants, the inheritance shall go in equal moieties to the paternal and maternal kindred, each in the following course:
(1) First to the grandparents, in equal shares, if any there be.
(2) Second if there be no grandparent, then to the uncles and aunts, or their descendants by representation, or such of them as there be.
(3) Third if there be no grandparent, nor uncle, nor aunt, nor their descendants, then to the great grandparents in equal shares, if any there be.
(4) Fourth if there be no great grandparent, then to the great uncles and great aunts or their descendants by representation, or such of them as there be; and so on, in other cases, without end, passing to the nearest lineal ancestors and their descendants or such of them as there be.
33-1-3 Descent when no paternal or maternal kindred survive.
When in this chapter the inheritance is directed to go by moieties to the paternal and maternal kindred, if there are no such kindred on the one part, the whole shall go to the other part; and if there are no kindred either on the one part or the other the whole shall go to the husband or wife of the intestate, and if the husband or wife is dead, it shall go to his or her kindred in the like course as if such husband or wife had survived the intestate and then died entitled to the estate.
33-1-5 Life estate descending to spouse.
Whenever the intestate dies without issue and leaves a husband or wife surviving, the real estate of the intestate shall descend and pass to the husband or wife for his or her natural life. The provisions of §§ 33-1-1 and 33-1-2 shall be subject to the provisions of this section and § 33-1-6.
33-1-7 Descendants of deceased heirs.
The descendants of any person deceased shall inherit the estate which the person would have inherited had the person survived the intestate, subject to the express provisions of these canons of descent.
33-1-10 Surplus personalty not bequeathed.
The surplus of any chattels or personal estate of a deceased person, not bequeathed, after the payment of his or her just debts, funeral charges, and expenses of settling his or her estate, shall be distributed by order of the probate court which shall grant administration in the manner following:
(1) The sum of fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) from the surplus and one-half (1/2) of the remainder to the widow or surviving husband forever, if the intestate died without issue.
(2) One-half (1/2) of the surplus to the widow or surviving husband forever, if the intestate died leaving issue.
(3) The residue shall be distributed among the heirs of the intestate in the same manner real estates descend and pass by this chapter, but without having any respect to the life estate and discretionary allowance provided by §§ 33-1-5 and 33-1-6.
33-25-2 Life estate to spouse.
(a) Whenever any person shall die leaving a husband or wife surviving, the real estate owned by the decedent in fee simple at his or her death shall descend and pass to the husband or wife for his or her natural life subject, however, to any encumbrances existing at death; provided that the liability, if any, of the decedent to discharge the encumbrance or encumbrances shall not be impaired. The provisions of §§ 33-1-1 and 33-1-2 shall be subject to the provisions of this chapter and of § 33-1-6.
(b) For purposes of this section, any real estate conveyed by the decedent prior to his or her death, with or without monetary consideration, shall not be subject to the life estate granted in subsection (a) if the instrument or instruments evidencing such conveyance were recorded in the records of land evidence in the city or town where the real estate is located prior to the death of the decedent. Nothing in this section shall be construed to require that the instrument or instruments evidencing the conveyance must be recorded prior to the death of the decedent to be valid and thus not subject to the life estate contained herein.