If a mom and and her sonboth die without a Will, what are the surving obligations for the oldest adult child?

UPDATED: Dec 5, 2011

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If a mom and and her sonboth die without a Will, what are the surving obligations for the oldest adult child?

Dad died and was probated. Mom died on without a Will 7 months ago; nothing has been done except she was cremated and a memorial service was held. Brother/nephew shot himself last week. He had 2 minor children (1one with ex-wife and 1 with a girlfriend). Both have very little estate. Does my husband have any legal obligation to do anything? He wants nothing from either estate.

Asked on December 5, 2011 under Estate Planning, Michigan


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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Sorry to hear about dad, mom, and brother.

When one dies without a Will, the rules of intestate succession determine inheritance.  Intestate means dying without a Will.

If your husband and his brother were the only children, your husband would inherit one half of his mother's estate.  The children of his deceased brother would inherit the remaining half of their grandmother's estate.  Since there are two surviving grandchildren, each would receive 1/4  (1/4 + 1/4 = 1/2).  The ex-wife and girlfriend of the brother would inherit nothing.

If your husband does not want his inheritance and does not want to be the executor of the estate, he has no obligation to do anything.

Since your husband's brother did not have a surviving spouse, his estate would be inherited by his two children and would be divided equally among them.  If brother had a surviving spouse, she would inherit his entire estate and his two surviving children would inherit nothing under the rules of intestate succession.

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