how long does next of kin have to claim belongings of someone who has died

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how long does next of kin have to claim belongings of someone who has died

my uncle has live with my parents for the last 2 years of which time his children have not made any attempt to contact him now that he has passed they want all of his stuff and that is fine but what we need to know is how long do we legally have to give them to come and get it before we can do anything with itwe live in michigan and his children live in ohio

Asked on June 8, 2009 under Estate Planning, Michigan

Answers:

L.M., Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

The technical answer is, not so fast.  Did your uncle have a will? If he had a will, it will state within it who gets his assets.  If he had no will, his assets pass by intestate succession, meaning according to the state's rules for heirs.  In many states, the assets go to the surviving spouse and then to the surviving children if there is no spouse.  Since your uncle lived with your parents, I'm assuming there is no surviving spouse, so all of his children would share the assets.  Someone needs to open a probate case with the court in your county, and the court will appoint an administrator of your uncle's estate.  Even if it's a small estate, the court wants to be sure any remaining debt is paid off, like medical bills, funeral bills, etc. and taxes, before the assets are distributed.  Once that happens, the assets will be distributed by the administrator.


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