In cases where a deceased relative has left no will to dictate the succession of his estate, it is often prudent to assert your claim on the deceased person's estate as soon as the death is known to you. Writing a letter to claim a deceased relative's estate is usually only the first step in the process, however, and you should be prepared to provide verification of any statements you make in your letter. Additionally, it is advised you seek the advice of a licensed attorney if you have any questions about how to handle your claim.
Identify the appropriate person or agency to contact to make a claim on your deceased relative's estate. Often this will be an attorney's office or local government agency, so call before beginning your letter to find out the individual's name who is overseeing the estate.
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Place your name, address and phone number at the top of the letter, followed by the date, then the name, address and phone number of the individual or agency handling your deceased relative's estate.
Begin the letter by referring to your deceased relative. Note your relationship to the deceased and when you were notified of the death, if appropriate -- e.g., significant time has passed since the individual passed away.
State your claim as the reason you're writing, and provide any supporting evidence or reasons why you feel the estate is legally yours beyond your relationship to the deceased stated earlier.
Provide the recipient with the best time and method of contacting you, and express a reasonable time frame in which you expect a response to your claim or further instruction on how to proceed in obtaining the estate. Include your attorney's name and phone number as an alternate contact, if applicable.
Close the letter with a standard salutation, such as "Best regards" or "Sincerely," and type your name three lines below this. Sign the letter in between the salutation and your name.
Make a copy of the letter for your records. Send the original using certified mail or another service that offers delivery confirmation. Retain a record of the confirmed delivery in case of later disputes.