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

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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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?

Asked on May 14, 2019 under Estate Planning, Louisiana


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 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).

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 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.

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