If a person just passed but had no Will or children, how is their estate distributed?

They have 2 living brother and a deceased sister. The deceased sister has children still living. Are the children in titled to some of the money?

Asked on September 8, 2015 under Estate Planning, California


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Since there is no Will, the rules of intestate succession determine inheritance.  Intestate means dying without a Will.
Under intestate succession, if the decedent had a surviving spouse, the surviving spouse inherits the entire estate.  If there wasn't any surviving spouse and no children, the decedent's parents would inherit the estate. If there are no surviving parents, then the two living brothers and the children of the deceased sister would inherit as follows  Each brother would receive 1/3 of the estate.  The children of the deceased sister would inherit the deceased sister's 1/3.  The number of children of the deceased sister will determine how much of the deceased sister's share each of her children inherit.  For example, if there are two children, each inherits 1/6 because 1/6 + 1/6 = 2/6= 1/3.  If the deceased sister had any deceased children who had children, those children inherit the share their deceased parent would have inherited had the deceased parent survived.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.