My husband died and the family is keeping all his belongings.
When a person dies without a will in WA, the intestate statute provides who gets the decedent's belongings.
RCW 11.04.015 (Descent and distribution of real and personal estate) provides:
The net estate of a person dying intestate, or that portion thereof with respect to which the person shall have died intestate, shall descend subject to the provisions of RCW 11.04.250 and 11.02.070, and shall be distributed as follows:
(1) Share of surviving spouse or state registered domestic partner. The surviving spouse or state registered domestic partner shall receive the following share:
(a) All of the decedent's share of the net community estate; and
(b) One-half of the net separate estate if the intestate is survived by issue; or
(c) Three-quarters of the net separate estate if there is no surviving issue, but the intestate is survived by one or more of his or her parents, or by one or more of the issue of one or more of his or her parents; or
(d) All of the net separate estate, if there is no surviving issue nor parent nor issue of parent.
So, you get at least half. Grandma gets nothing unless the husband has no living child, parent, or sibling.
You likely should tell the family members to leave the things alone until the court decides what to do.
You should keep a log of who has taken what so that the items can be recovered.
You should promptly review the specific facts with your attorney.
If you file for probate right away, you would be the first person entitled to handle the estate.
Hire a probate lawyer and get this handled properly and do not take advice from his family.
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