What are a families rights to a deceased member’s belongings?

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What are a families rights to a deceased member’s belongings?

My family lived with my late father for several years. He ended up moving to a house 3 blocks down that my brother bought but he left a lot of stuff at our house. He did not have a Will. Are his possessions that remained with us become ours because they are in our possession?

Asked on May 9, 2014 under Estate Planning, Wisconsin

Answers:

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

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

Since your father did not leave a Will, the rules of intestate succession determine inheritance.  Intestate means dying without a Will.

Under intestate succession, if your father had a surviving spouse, she would inherit the entire estate.  If there wasn't any surviving spouse, the estate, which includes his possessions, are divided equally among the surviving children.  If there is a deceased child who had children (your father's grandchildren), they would inherit the share of the estate their parent would have inherited if the parent had survived.

Just because some of your father's possessions were left at your house does not mean that they are yours because they are in your possession.  Your inheritance is subject to the rules of intestate succession discussed above.


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