Is a sister entitled to money from a wrongful death
2 attorney answers
I'm very sorry to hear of your loss.
If his sister has been appointed Special Administrator of his estate by a Probate Court, then she is the person that will be authorized to hire a law firm for the purpose of investigating and filing suit if a case exists. (Only someone appointed by the court can do this.)
If a lawsuit is filed, it will be filed on behalf of his estate and "statutory beneficiaries." The statutory beneficiaries are, you, any children he had (or persons he treated as children), his siblings and his parents.
His estate can seek compensation for any pain and suffering he experienced prior to his death, the loss of his income for the years he should have lived, and the value of his loss of life. (Loss of income usually is meant to compensate the decedent's spouse.)
You, as his spouse, will be able to claim damages (in that lawsuit) for your loss of consortium (the loss of your relationship) and mental anguish (grief). The other statutory beneficiaries can only recover for their mental anguish (or grief) and any pecuniary loss (like if your husband was regularly supporting that person with money).
If his sister is appointed Special Administrator, the law firm she hires knows that she has a fiduciary duty to ensure that you are informed and that your claims are pursued in that case. If there is a settlement, the Probate Court will ultimately decide how the recovery should be apportioned between the statutory beneficiaries, unless the family can agree on this. Typically, the spouse is the one who recovers most of the money in wrongful death cases, but each case is unique.
I hope this explanation is helpful and, again, I am very sorry for your loss.