what if somebody dieds owning you money

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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what if somebody dieds owning you money

my sister died owing me money and she had no will and was not married and
she said she was putting all her assetes to her boy friend who she lived with 20
years so im wondering how to get my money back

Asked on February 19, 2017 under Estate Planning, Michigan


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

You can sue her "estate" for the money: when a person dies, an "estate" is created to pay off their last debts and final expenses, then distribute the remaining assets, if any, to the people who inherit it. You would sue if the estate does not voluntarily pay this debt.
However, first there has to be someone to administer the estate--that is, a personal representative (often a family member) must be appointed by the court; this would be the person whom you ask to pay the debt and on whom, if the debt is not paid, you would serve the papers for the lawsuit. As a brother, you could ask the court to be appointed personal representative; if the did appoint you, you would be the one managing her final expenses and paying final debts from her assets, if any, then distributing what's left to those who inherit. Contact the probate or surrogate's court in the county in which she lived, to find out who is the personal representative or to ask to be appointed it. You would contact the clerk's office.
Note that a "boyfriend" does not inherit unless there was a will leaving assets to him. Without a will, your sister's money, belongings, etc. will go to her family under the rules of "intestate succession" (the rules for who gets what when there is no will). The fact that she said she was giving her assets to her boyfriend has no legal effect, unless she put that into an actual will--wishes or desires expressed not in a will have no effect on who gets property after death. 
Note that if your parents are not alive and she had no children, then her siblings will likely inherit under intestate succession--i.e. you may be inheriting whatever she had, if you are the closest surviving family member.

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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