My brother died without a will who inherits?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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My brother died without a will who inherits?

My brother died without a will my sister in law wants nothing to so with the estate. They were not legally separated, but have not lived together for over 12 years. She the sister in law has moved on purchased a home with another man so on so forth. My nephew is 19 but will do exactly what his mother says, he is not emotionally or socially capable of functioning. There is a mortgage on his home he inherited before the marriage, how can I settle his estate?

Asked on October 23, 2017 under Estate Planning, New York


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss and for the situation.  If your brother died without a Will then it is known as dying "intestate" and the intstacy statute applies. In New York the spouse would inherit the first $50,000.00 of his probate estate and his son and spouse would split the remaining balance 50/50.  His Probate estate includes everything he owned that is not jointly owned with his spouse or another.   A funeral bill is an estate debt.  In fact, it is the debt that is first in line to be paid.  If she will not do anything to probate his estate then consider speaking with a lawyer to file to become the Administrator (Administration is probate without a Will). She will have to be given notice and may object and it may be a fight but if you can show that she has moved on and is not interested and his son is not interested or competant then you may have a shot.  You may also be able to charge the estate a fee for that fiduciary responsibility.  But at the least it will get the estate before the Surrogate's Court and start the process moving.  Good luck.

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