Who is entitled to a person’s assets if they die without a Will?

UPDATED: Jun 3, 2011

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Who is entitled to a person’s assets if they die without a Will?

My grandma just passed away with no Will. Grandpa was already dead. I lived with her because my mother (her daughter) passed away years ago. Now 2 days after she’s passed, my uncle has changed the locks on my (and grandma’s) house. He has taken the 2 cars, a couch, TV, computers, etc. He also told me that I can’t stay here anymore. Is this legal? Grandma owed money on the house and credit cards. Do I get an inheritance? The surviving relatives include my uncle, my sister, and me (1 son, 2 granddaughters).

Asked on June 3, 2011 under Estate Planning, Minnesota


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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

When someone dies without a Will they die "intestate". Consequently the intestacy laws of the state where the deceased was domiciled as of the date of their death will control. Typically an estate is distributed to the surviving spouse, if any, and to the children of the deceased. Here, your grandfather predeceased your grandmother, so her estate would have been inherited by her children. Typically,in the case of intestacy, if a child predeceases their parent their share is split among the surviving children unless the deceased child left children of their own. So in this instance your mother's share would not go to your uncle since your mother left you and your sister. Accordingly you and she would inherit your mother's share.

Therefore your uncle appears to have overstepped his legal bounds. To be sure of your legal rights and remedies under specific state law you need to consult irectly with a probate attoreny  in the state where your grandmother died.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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