If my mother died intestate and I’m her only child, what are my rights to her estate?

UPDATED: Dec 28, 2010

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If my mother died intestate and I’m her only child, what are my rights to her estate?

I am only child (24 years old). She moved to MD with her boyfriend about 4 years before her passing. However, because of a medical condition had a DE address. Which state would she be considered as living in at the time of death? She didn’t have a lot of money but her boyfriend took her last SSI check to pay for a memorial. He won’t return calls about obtaining her jewelry, TV, etc. Also, she had a financed vehicle. What rights do I have to the vehicle if I don’t have good credit myself?

Asked on December 28, 2010 under Estate Planning, Delaware


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

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Sorry to hear about your mother.

Since she died intestate and there is no surviving spouse, you as the only child would inherit her entire estate.

The state which she intended to be her primary residence would be the state in which she resided at the time of her death.  It would appear that MD was her primary residence since her DE address was only due to her medical condition.

As for the vehicle, you would inherit that as part of the estate.  The fact that you don't have good credit would not affect your inheritance.  If the boyfriend does not return your mother's personal property, you could file a lawsuit against him for conversion.  Conversion is the intentional assumption of dominion and control over the personal property of another without consent or privilege.  This means the unauthorized assumption and exercise of the right of ownership over the personal property of another. 

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