Who is entitled to a person’s assets if they die without a Will?

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Who is entitled to a person’s assets if they die without a Will?

My grandma just passed away with no Will. Grandpa was already dead. I lived with her because my mother (her daughter) passed away years ago. Now 2 days after she’s passed, my uncle has changed the locks on my (and grandma’s) house. He has taken the 2 cars, a couch, TV, computers, etc. He also told me that I can’t stay here anymore. Is this legal? Grandma owed money on the house and credit cards. Do I get an inheritance? The surviving relatives include my uncle, my sister, and me (1 son, 2 granddaughters).

Asked on June 3, 2011 under Estate Planning, Minnesota

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

When someone dies without a Will they die "intestate". Consequently the intestacy laws of the state where the deceased was domiciled as of the date of their death will control. Typically an estate is distributed to the surviving spouse, if any, and to the children of the deceased. Here, your grandfather predeceased your grandmother, so her estate would have been inherited by her children. Typically,in the case of intestacy, if a child predeceases their parent their share is split among the surviving children unless the deceased child left children of their own. So in this instance your mother's share would not go to your uncle since your mother left you and your sister. Accordingly you and she would inherit your mother's share.

Therefore your uncle appears to have overstepped his legal bounds. To be sure of your legal rights and remedies under specific state law you need to consult irectly with a probate attoreny  in the state where your grandmother died.


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