Can I prevent next of kin from inheriting estate?

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Can I prevent next of kin from inheriting estate?

My sister took her own life, she was only 25 and did not have a Will. My parents are the legal next of kin for everything she left behind, 401k, the home she owned. They have not had a relation ship with sister and I for years, her and I have always been very close. My parents are drug addicts and abandoned us at a young age. Is there anything I can do to

prevent them from getting what my sister worked so hard for? My sister hated our mother for what she put us though and I know she wouldn’t want her to benefit from this tragedy. My father was always there for us and has agreed that my sister would want me to handle everything. What can I do to stop my mother from benefiting from this?

Asked on August 10, 2018 under Estate Planning, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, when there is no will, a person's estate (the money and assets they leave behind) must be distributed according the rules for "intestate succession" (the laws for who gets what when there is no will). Those rules do not care about the quality of the relationship or whether the people who inherit deserve to inherit; all that matters is the degree of relationship. In your state (CA), if someone passes away without a surviving spouse or children, but has surving parents, her parents inherit *everything* even if there is also a surving spouse. There is no way around this.


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