If my grandfather passed away a few weeks ago but there is no Will and my grandmother won’t tell me anything, what can I do?

My grandfather passed away a few weeks ago and when he died he had no Will. However, he had property. His wife’s name was not on the deed and he verbally told me that it went to me because his wife was mentally incompetent. He practically raised me and his only child, my father, is incarcerated serving 25 years. There are 2 life insurance policies that he had my name on as the beneficiary but wasn’t able to sign it before he passed.

Asked on July 29, 2012 under Estate Planning, North Carolina


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  It is unfortunate that he did not execute a proper Will or the life insurance policies.  If he died with out a WIll then he died "intestate" and the intestacy statute in North Carolina will apply.  North Carolina does recognize an oral will in limited circumstances. An oral will, also called a noncupative will, must be spoken to two witnesses on your deathbed and is valid if you do not survive. You have to prove this with the witnesses if you want to go that route. Under intestacy his estate will probably be split between his wife and your father.  If the life insurance policies do not have executed beneficiary forms on file with the life insurance company then they will  have to go through the estate probate process.  Please seek legal help.  Good luck.

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