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 negotiations, and estate planning in Whatcom, Skagit, Snohomish, King and Pierce counties. The response does not constitute specific legal advice, which would require a full inquiry by the attorney into the complete background of the facts and circumstances surrounding this matter; rather, it is intended to be general legal information based on the limited information provided by the inquirer; it This response also does not constitute the establishment of an attorney-client relationship, which can only be established after a conflict of interest evaluation is completed, your case is accepted, and a fee agreement is signed. Johnson Legal Group, PLLC
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.
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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 this information is for informational purposes only, and does not create an attorney-client relationship. This website is not intended to be the rendering of legal advice for specific cases, you should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel, and you should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. Good luck. John