How do you find out if a sister left something to her brother if there is no Will?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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How do you find out if a sister left something to her brother if there is no Will?

The situation is- Married couple, Wife dies totally unexpectedly -she handled all the finances and made all the money -she did not trust husband with finances. After her death Husband made his nephew beneficiary. Husband dies 6 months later. Does nephew get all of her stuff too? He came in and took all the paperwork out of the office before any of the family could look at it and her work took the computer she worked from home. How do we find out what she put aside? We know she had retirement and other assets set aside for her brother only relative with children.

Asked on January 8, 2019 under Estate Planning, Rhode Island


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If there is no will, then she put nothing aside for anyone: only a will controls what happens to property, money, assets, etc. after someone dies. If there is no will, the property will pass by "intestate succession," or who inherits what when there is no will. If there was no will when she passed, then her husband would have inherited everything if she did not have children; if she did have children, her husband and her children would split her estate (husband gets 1/2; children share the other 1/2). 
Anything her husband had and inherited from her would then, if there was no will, go to his own blood or adopted relatives, but not to his wife's relatives or inlaws.
In the case you described, if she did not have children, it is likely everything went to her husband, then from him to his family.

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