What happens to my mother’s house if she died without a Will?

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What happens to my mother’s house if she died without a Will?

It’s my older brother and me. I lived with her for last 20 years. Does the house (fully paid off) get split 50/50 or, because he’s 4 years older, my brother gets to decide what happenswith her estate?

Asked on June 7, 2012 under Estate Planning, New Jersey

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Sorry to hear about your mother.

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

Under intestate succession, if your mother had a surviving spouse, he would inherit the entire estate.  If there isn't any surviving spouse and you and your brother are the only children, each of you would inherit one half of your mother's estate.  If you had any other brothers or sisters, who are deceased but have surviving children, those surviving children would inherit their deceased parent's share of the estate.

The fact that your brother is four years older than you is irrelevant in determining inheritance under intestate succession.


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