If my mom is the only living full-blood relative of my deceased uncle, what steps does she take now?

UPDATED: Oct 20, 2010

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If my mom is the only living full-blood relative of my deceased uncle, what steps does she take now?

My mom lives in MT; uncle lived in FL until he died 2 weeks ago. What do we use to prove her survivorship? He had less than $2,000 in the bank from what we understand, and the trailer he lived in was in disrepair and will be torn down, not sold. He has a steel worker’s retirement and a small VA burial value of around 200. We have no idea what to do. The funeral home accepted her as survivor and said they will send her the death certificate but after that, we are at a loss. As far as we know there was no Will.

Asked on October 20, 2010 under Estate Planning, Montana


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

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Sorry to hear about your mother's uncle.

Intestate means dying without a Will.  Inheritance is determined by the rules of intestate succession.  Since your mother is her uncle's only survivor, she would inherit the estate.  The estate you described is too small for probate.  Your mother should contact the bank where her uncle's account is located and ask what documentation they will require for her to obtain the funds in the account. Your mother should have had more than one certified copy of the death certificate prepared. The bank will need a certified copy of the death certificate.  Ask if they will require an affidavit of a small estate without administration.  That affidavit (declaration) will establish her right to have the funds paid or transferred to her.

At the law library, look in the index of the Probate Code under small estate without administration.  Look for affidavit.  That will give you the form language of the affidavit.  After the affidavit has been written, it should be signed in the presence of a notary.  Another reference source at the law library is Pleading and Practice.  Look in the index for small estate without administration.  Then, look for affidavit.  That will also give you the necessary language to include.

The steelworker's retirement probably terminates upon death; however, it would be advisable to contact the company to find out if there are any additional benefits that your mother as her uncle's survivor may be entitled to receive.  If there are additional benefits, ask what documentation the company will require in order for your mother to receive those benefits.  Ask if they will require an affidavit of a small estate without administration.


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