We all know this, but forget that sometimes it impacts our genealogical research as well. Early in my research, I was surprised that when my uncle died in 1907, without any children that his wife did not automatically inherit his entire estate. She inherited a part of it as his wife, but the balance went to his heirs. In this case, his siblings and some nieces and nephews were also heirs to his estate besides his wife. It made for an interesting court case.