Q: My friend died in the State of Washington without a will. How must her estate be divided?
My friend (she) has no spouse, no living parents, two living sisters, and two living grandchildren. She also has one living child who is a ward of the State of Washington as the child is mentally disabled.
A: Every state has a set of laws that dictate how property is distributed if there is no will. Washington's can be found at RCW 11.04.015 ( http://app.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=11.04.015 ). The exact distribution would depend on who the parents of the surviving grandchildren were (i.e, are they the children of the surviving child, a deceased child, or two different deceased children). Washington's laws of intestacy dictate a distribution by representation, so each of those possibilities has a slightly different outcome. ( http://app.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=11.02.005 )
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