What can my husband do about his share of his share of his late mother’s inheritance?

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What can my husband do about his share of his share of his late mother’s inheritance?

My husband’s grandmother died and his family is living in her house. The house is not in his uncle’s name. We

recently found out that my husband’s deceased mother was supposed to inherit some of the stuff. However his uncle decided that because my husband’s mother had died that he was going to sell the stuff instead. We assumed that if his mother died it was supposed to go to her next of kin, which would be my husband and his siblings. Can his uncle do this and where can we get a copy of the Will? His uncle admitted that his mother was supposed to get stuff but he sold it and split the money with my husband aunt. What happens to the house can my husband go after his uncle for what his deceased mother was supposed to get?

Asked on June 4, 2017 under Estate Planning, Massachusetts

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You do not indicate who died first--your husband's mother or grandmother. That makes an enormous difference, because if the mother died before the grandmother, the mother's share of any inheritance would *not* go to her heirs: rather, if there was a will, it would go to whomever else was named in the will; and if there was no will, it would pass by intestate succession to the grandmother's other children--the aunt and uncle. In this case whether or not the uncle, etc. have done things properly, the house or other belongings would not have gone to your husband.
On the other hand, if the grandmother passed away first, then the mother passed away later, anything the mother would have inherited would then gone to her heirs--e.g. your husband. But whether she would have inherited and how much she would have inherited would depend on whether there was a will or not, and if a will, what it said.
There are many issues here: who passed away first; was there a will and if so, what did it say; finding out if there was  will, which can be difficult if the person(s) who have it do not cooperate; possibly undoing or reversing illegal transactions (if someone who did not have the right to sell property did); etc. If your husband's mother passed away after the grandmother, retain an attorney to help you; if his mother predeceased his grandmother, then unless you can find a will which states that in that case, it would have gone to him, it would not be worth taking action, since in the absence of a will of the grandmother's leaving it  to your husband, if his mother passed away first, he would not inherit from his grandmother when she had other living children (aunt and uncle).
 


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