Bachelor uncle passes away without a will. Who is entitled to the estate?

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Bachelor uncle passes away without a will. Who is entitled to the estate?

My elderly uncle, who was never married or had children died without a will.
He had a couple of CD’s worth several thousand dollars apiece and savings
account with money in it. Here is the problem.

He lived on my parents property rent free, ate supper with them every night and
my mother tended to him when he was sick. He was at my parents home every day
for years and years. He was my mothers uncle so he was family. He became
unable to care for himself in the end and would not go into the nursing home.
He has a living brother who has children and none of them would take him in and
insisted that he not be forced to go into the nursing home so my mother took
him in. She cared for him and cleaned up after him, which was quite a chore.
After he passed away his other relatives, the ones who couldn’t be bothered to
care for him, came in and took what they wanted of his things and left the rest
for my mother to clean up and dispose of. They did not know about the money so
it has gone untouched.
My mother should be entitled to the uncles money not those grasping relatives
but the question is would she be entitled to it or just a nieces share? Is
there and argument?
Thanks

Asked on May 14, 2019 under Estate Planning, Louisiana

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

While what your mother did is admirable and commendable, but does not give her any right to the money; your uncle could have left it to her by willing it to her, but evidently he did not. Since he is did not, the money, like anything else he owned, passes by intestate succession: it is (since he was not married and did not have children) divided into as many shares as he had siblings. Any living sibling of his gets a share; for any deceased siblings, their share is then divided between their own children (e.g. your mother, as neice).


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