My wife's sister died. There is not will. Her friends are saying that she promised to certain items. Whats the law for claims?

Asked over 1 year ago - Du Bois, PA

There is a table that my wife's sister took when their mother died she never discussed it with her. Now she has passed away and a friend of hers is saying Kathy gave it to her??? My wife would like the table in remembrance of her mother. What does the law say?

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Matthew Erik Johnson

    Contributor Level 17


    Lawyers agree


    Best Answer
    chosen by asker

    Answered . The law is that her property will pass by intestate succession, which is a strict default order of property distribution absent a Will. Intestate succession can get complex and is highly dependent on the family structure, children, husband, parents, siblings - etc.

    A visit with a local probate attorney to take a look at the situation and tell you what to expect would be a great investment.

    None of the property goes to anyone else. So her friends are out of luck.

    Matthew Johnson phone# 206.747.0313 is licensed in the State of Washington and performs bankruptcy, short sale... more
  2. John B. Whalen Jr.


    Contributor Level 14


    Lawyers agree


    Answered . Both Attorney Johnson and Frederick are correct. However, if the table is something that is worth having (and as was previously suggested), a consultation with an attorney may prove to be fruitful.

    Please remember that - although we are attorneys who are trained to advise you according to what the law states (which is the "science" half of our profession), the "art" half of our profession is merely fixing a problem, a misunderstanding, a poorly documented final wish, or an unfortunate situation.

    That is really our goal. So give it a try - talk to someone who knows what they are doing - and you just might turn that mountain back into a molehill.

    Good luck ...


    Although we invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters, and electronic mail, please remember that... more
  3. James P. Frederick

    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyers agree


    Answered . I agree with Attorney Johnson. Verbal promises of an inheritance are not enforceable. In the absence of a Will, state law determines who the heirs are and the amounts that they receive. If your SIL had a surviving husband or children, they would take. In the absence of a spouse or child, then a surviving parent would take. If your FIL is no longer alive, then siblings would share equally in the estate. If there are assets that have title, and not just personal items, then probate will be required. If that is the case, you should consult with a probate attorney.

    James Frederick

    ***Please be sure to mark if you find the answer "helpful" or a "best" answer. Thank you! I hope this helps. ******... more

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