What happens if my aunt died with no Will?

UPDATED: Aug 22, 2011

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What happens if my aunt died with no Will?

My elderly aunt dies 10 days ago in OH. She has children but they refuse to help. I held her medical power of attorney (I live in AL). She wanted her body donated to the Cleveland Clinic which I did. She had no Will; how are matters handled? She lived in a subsidized housing complex for the elderly and her things have to be moved out by the end of the month. I’m not sure I can do that. Also, what happens to outstanding medical and credit card bills? I do not want to assume liability for her bills.

Asked on August 22, 2011 Ohio


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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for you.  You are very kind to step up to the plate when her children will not.  If she died with out a Will she died intestate and the intestacy statutes in the state of Ohio will govern the distribution of her assets.  Most likely her children inherit all she had.  Did she have any assets at all because from your question it seems she had only bills?  Whomever is appointed as the personal representative of the estate (which is done by filing a petition with the probate court in the county in which she resided at the time of her death) would have the responsibility of making sure that the bills were paid from the assets.  That person - whom ever it is - would not be personally liable for the debts. The estate would.  And it is possible that the estate is insolvent.  As for her belongings, ask the housing complex what will happen if you can not remove her things by month's end and tell her kids to get there and clean out the stuff.  You really do not have to do any more.  The POA died with her.  Good luck.

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