If my dad died about 6 months ago without a Will, what are my sister-in-law’s rights to the estate?y dad died last november.

UPDATED: Apr 16, 2015

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If my dad died about 6 months ago without a Will, what are my sister-in-law’s rights to the estate?y dad died last november.

He did not have a will of any kind. The only remaining family is my brother and myself. He and I decided to let him be the executor of the estate. In that case, what rights does my brother’s wife (my sister-in-law) have as to everything that was owned by my dad and left in his house? She said that legally she is entitled to anything she wants in the house regardless of whether I want it or not.

Asked on April 16, 2015 under Estate Planning, Utah


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

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

Sorry to hear about your dad.

Your sister-in-law does NOT inherit anything.

Since your dad died without a Will, the rules of intestate succession determine inheritance.  Intestate means dying without a Will.

Under intestate succession, if your dad had a surviving spouse, she inherits his entire estate.

If there wasn't any surviving spouse, the children (you and your brother) each inherit one half of your dad's estate if you don't have any deceased siblings who had children.  If you have deceased siblings who had children, then those children (your dad's grandchildren) inherit the share their deceased parent would have inherited had the deceased parent survived.

For example, if you have one deceased sibling who has surviving children, you would inherit 1/3, your brother would inherit 1/3  and the deceased sibling's children would inherit the remaining 1/3 of your dad's estate.

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