Who gets first access to everything left by a deceased person who had no Will?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Who gets first access to everything left by a deceased person who had no Will?

My girlfriend’s dad passed away without a Will or spouse; she was his only child. Her aunt went

through her dad’s house and took what she wanted before my girlfriend could get it?

Asked on June 15, 2016 under Estate Planning, Michigan


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

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

When someone dies "intestate" (i.e. without a Will), their estate passes according to the laws of the state in which they were domiciled as of the date of their death. Typically, this means that the surviving spouse, if any, and the children of the deceased inherit. If their is no spouse, then the children take all. A sibling of the deceased would only take if the deceased had no children. At this point, you are right taking your aunt to small caoims court. You could also possibly file a criminal contempt for theft if you want to take it that far.

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