how long does next of kin have to claim belongings of someone who has died

UPDATED: Jun 8, 2009

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how long does next of kin have to claim belongings of someone who has died

my uncle has live with my parents for the last 2 years of which time his children have not made any attempt to contact him now that he has passed they want all of his stuff and that is fine but what we need to know is how long do we legally have to give them to come and get it before we can do anything with itwe live in michigan and his children live in ohio

Asked on June 8, 2009 under Estate Planning, Michigan


L.M., Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 13 years ago | Contributor

The technical answer is, not so fast.  Did your uncle have a will? If he had a will, it will state within it who gets his assets.  If he had no will, his assets pass by intestate succession, meaning according to the state's rules for heirs.  In many states, the assets go to the surviving spouse and then to the surviving children if there is no spouse.  Since your uncle lived with your parents, I'm assuming there is no surviving spouse, so all of his children would share the assets.  Someone needs to open a probate case with the court in your county, and the court will appoint an administrator of your uncle's estate.  Even if it's a small estate, the court wants to be sure any remaining debt is paid off, like medical bills, funeral bills, etc. and taxes, before the assets are distributed.  Once that happens, the assets will be distributed by the administrator.

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 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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