If my sister passed away before her personal injury lawsuit was settled, what happens to the proceeds of the suit?

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If my sister passed away before her personal injury lawsuit was settled, what happens to the proceeds of the suit?

She was not married, had no childrenWand did not have a will.

Asked on May 18, 2017 under Estate Planning, Illinois

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Such proceeds would become an asset of your sister's estate. Since she died without a Will, then she died "intestate". This means that the intestacy or "succession" laws of the state in which she was domiciled at the time of her death will control. That being said, in such a situation in virtually all states, when a person dies without children or a surviving spouse, their estate goes to their parents but if both of them have passed, then it goes to their siblings. Depending on the amount of the settlement, you may be able to by-pass a formal probate and use a simplied probate process (it will depends on specific state law; you can check further online about this). Otherwise, you can apply to the probate court to be appointed the "personal representative" of your sister's estate and then you can administer it.


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