How to distribute an estate of someone who died without a Will?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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How to distribute an estate of someone who died without a Will?

My wife is the executor for her aunt’s estate. She passed away last year. After paying all her medical and funeral bills there is approximately $10,000 left. What guidelines do we use to distribute the money? My wife’s aunt has 2 brothers who have already passed away and a half sister that is still alive.

Asked on April 27, 2017 under Estate Planning, Georgia


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

When someone dies "intestate" (i.e. without a Will), then state law controls the distribution of their estate. Assuming that your wife's aunt was domicilced in GA when she died, then the estate should be distributed 100% to her siblings(this assumes that she left not survivng spouse, children or parents). Accordingly, even if she had 2 brothers who had aready passed away, their estates still get a 1/3 share each and her "half" sister inherits as if she was a “whole" sibling, as it were.

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