Who is the heir to the estate when there’s no Will from either of the deceased?

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Who is the heir to the estate when there’s no Will from either of the deceased?

My uncle passed away almost a year ago without a Will. He was survived by his current wife of about 45 years and his 4 children from a previous marriage. About 4-5 months later, his wife suddenly passed away, also without a Will. She did not have any children, her parents are dead, had her 1 sibling has already passed away, although she did have 4 nieces and nephews. Once she passed, is the estate supposed to be 50/50 split between her stepchildren and her nieces/nephews? Once her husband passed, I don’t believe she settled any portion of his estate before she passed a few months later.

Asked on March 31, 2017 under Estate Planning, Illinois

Answers:

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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  What you have here are two "intestate" estates, menaing that the State's Intestacy Statute will apply in the absence of a valid Will.  The Intestacy Statute governs the distribution of the estate. What will also play a part is how the assets were held between your Uncle and his Wife.  If all the assets were jointly held between them then with a right of survivorship them then passed automatically to his then wife upon her death.  Then the distribution would be governed by her surivors.  If she adopted the 4 children during their marriage then they would inherit.  If, however, she did not then only her side of the family will inherit.  I strongly suggest that you seek legal help.  Good luck.


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