If my mother-in-law died without a Will and my wife and her brother are fighting over her estate, how can this be settled?

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If my mother-in-law died without a Will and my wife and her brother are fighting over her estate, how can this be settled?

Asked on June 15, 2011 under Estate Planning, North Carolina

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your wife's loss and for the battle that has erupted.  If your mother in law died with out a Last Will and Testament in place she is said to have died "intestate."  When this happens the intestacy laws in the state come in to play and how the estate is divided - generally - is dictated by the statute.  I say "generally" because the statute is NOT going to say who gets the rocking chair and who gets the china.  It is going to say how the net proceeds of the estate - the gross value minus the debts minus the taxes - are to be split.  And here it would most likely be 50/50.  If they are fighting over "things" then maybe a mediator would help. They need to file an estate proceeding regardless. Good luck.


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