Q: I am actually asking a question for my mother. She and her brother inherited their mother’s house when she passed away back in 2000.

My grandmother’s will indicated that she wanted to leave the house to both my mother and her brother.

This past October, my mother’s brother (my uncle) passed away also. My mother is wondering if she now owns the house by herself or if she has to share ownership with his children.

My uncle didn’t have a will for his belongings. My mother wants to know if she sells the house will she have to split the proceeds with my uncle’s children.

Thanks for your time.

A: When someone dies intestate, that is, without a will, state law dictates who gets what from the estate. But some things, like the way property is owned, can push that law aside.

If your uncle didn’t have a will, it’s likely that his spouse (if he had one) and his children inherited the property. If he didn’t have a spouse, it’s possible that his sister (your mother) and his children will split his share of the house he co-owned with your mom.

However, if your mother and her brother held title to your grandmother’s house as joint tenants with rights of survivorship, then it’s possible that she owns the house on her own.

Please talk to a real estate or estate attorney who can assist your mother in looking at the title to the property as well as analyzing the laws governing wills and estates in your state.