Posted by Rick Harmon (CA) on January 19, 2006 at 10:08:24:
Most State’s statutes or at least case law has resolved that adverse possession is not an option for a person who either stands to receive property as an heir under intestate succession, beneficiary under a will or having acted as fiduciary as personal rep. (exec./Admin.) of a decedent’s estate.
Every State in the Union has “laws of consanguinity” which is a $10 term which spells out the order or who receives the net distributable assets (what’s left over) from a decedent’s estate (absent a will leaving assets to certain recipients).
What typically happens is that someone who is in the “foodchain” hires an attorney to open a probate case in the local Superior court, establish that there’s no will (if that’s the case) and then determines who are the rightful heirs. If any heirs are dead, their childen (decedent’s Grandchildren) may step into their shoes and receive, collectively, what their parent would have received.
So, If Great Aunt died, and her next of kin also died, then the law would look first downward to see if thre were any children, granchildren, great grandchildren, etc. If Great Aunt was childless, the court would go up one generation to her parents (probably long gone now) and then down their children, etc.
The best resource to resolve this matter is a probate attorney and not so much a real estate specialist.