Q: My brother in law died recently in Pennsylvania without a will, his brother (my husband) died 5 years ago but was named as beneficiary on his policies. My brother in law was never married nor had children, he does have an aunt and cousins. Who would be next of kin? (Pittsburgh, PA)
A: If your brother in law was not survived by a spouse, children or parents, his intestate (no will) share will pass to his siblings in equal shares. If any of your brother in law’s siblings have predeceased your brother in law, that deceased’s siblings share will pass to his or her children equally. So, if your husband has children, any portion of his brother’s estate he will inherit will pass instead to your husband’s children, biological or adopted. You mention “policies”, so I assume you mean insurance policies. Insurance policy proceeds pass directly to the named beneficiary or beneficiaries on the policy and not into the estate. If there are no living beneficiaries on the policy, then the insurance proceeds are payable to the estate. If so, the estate will distribute inheritance to the heirs named in the will or to the heirs under intestate law.