If someone dies without a Will and has no direct heirs, how are their assets distributed?

UPDATED: Oct 14, 2014

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If someone dies without a Will and has no direct heirs, how are their assets distributed?

My wife’s brother passed away. He left no wife or kids and no beneficiary on any of his bank accounts. He had no property either. The banks says that their dad is the next in line for the money in the bank accounts. How do the living brother and sister go about handling this? The bank account is worth $140,000.

Asked on October 14, 2014 under Estate Planning, California


Christine Socrates / Christine Sabio Socrates, Atty at Law

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

I am sorry about the passing of your brother in law. A probate estate will need to be opened in the county in which he resided if there is not a beneficiary designated on the bank account.  If he had no surviving spouse or children, then his father would be receive the money in the bank account.  Someone would need to apply to be the administrator of the estate, maybe one of the siblings or the father.  That person would be responsible for settling his debts and distributing his assets.  If you need assistance in this, I would be happy to help.    

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