What rights do I have being next to kin?

Q: My mom passed away when I was 18 years old, in Ohio. She had no will nor was she married, making me next to kin. My grandma voluntarily said she would pay for the funeral but later said she had rights to everything because she had to get her money back. Her and I came to an agreement that she would “supervise” everything so me and my four younger siblings could separate everything equally. I have no intentions of taking everything for myself. All my mom’s assets are in a storage unit in my grandmas name. I recently found out she was taking things out while I am away in Florida. What can I do when I get back? Do I have rights to demand it back and take everything out of storage if she tries to deny me access ?

A: It sounds like there was no estate opened. If there is enough value in this property in the storage shed or other assets to fight for, you have the right to become executor of the estate. Since she had no spouse, you as child are given preference over granny. You can then be in charge of the storage shed and everything else your mother may have owned. Yes, if granny paid the funeral bill, she needs to be reimbursed from mom’s estate. You may want to consult with an attorney so he or she can check if an estate was opened, assess the value of this estate and inform you of your options. Perhaps a letter from the lawyer may be worth the fee.


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