What to do if my uncle has just passed away and my mother is his only blood next of kin?

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What to do if my uncle has just passed away and my mother is his only blood next of kin?

My mother is in the hospital just having a major surgery. My brother and I feel the need to handle getting my uncle home and handling his estate. However my moms step niece has already stepped in and started making arrangements without our consent. What should we do?

Asked on June 14, 2013 under Estate Planning, Alabama

Answers:

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

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss and for the situation as it is with your Mother.  This is not really an easy question to give guidance on in this type of forum.  There are many questions to be asked and answered here. But from what you have written it sounds as if your Uncle was married and had a step daughter and that step daughter has taken it upon herself to act.  Although I can see how you are thinking here - that the priority to act should be yours because it really should be your Mothers - it does not really work that way under the law.  If she applies to the court to be the one to act on behalf of his estate it may be granted if she can show that there are ties between them - even if by blood there may not be- and no one else has stepped up to the plate.  I would speak with an attorney about a lot here: a POA and health proxy for Mom for one thing and that may allow you to act on behalf of her and for your Uncle, but you would have to go to court and be named in some capacity to act at all. Good luck.


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