Art lovers in California may be following the story of Vivian Maier, a French photographer who died in 2009. Her photographic work was found in a storage unit by a film producer who eventually went on to make a documentary about his discovery of over 150,000 of Maier’s black and white negatives. Maier’s story is famous for the fact that she worked as a nanny in Chicago. While her photographs were never published before her death, her street photography has been critically acclaimed posthumously.

Although the producer owns 90 percent of Maier’s negatives, Maier’s estate, which is believed to be vast, has still not been bequeathed to a rightful heir. Maier never had children, and confirmation is needed of whether or not her only brother ever had children. Over the course of three years, genealogists have gathered information about the photographer. Lawyers released a report the week of June 25 that identified 10 cousins of Maier who could be possible heirs to her estate. Two of the cousins are from Maier’s mother’s side, and eight were from her father’s side.

The law in Illinois states that if no heirs to an estate can be determined, the funds go to the state. A hearing was scheduled at a county circuit court wherein any or all of the relatives named in the report may or may not be defined as the rightful heirs to the estate of Vivian Maier.

After a member of the family dies, it is often useful to learn about inheritance law. An attorney who focuses on inheritance disputes and the laws of intestacy might be able to help a prospective client.