Am I entitled to any of my mother’s inheritance?

My grandfather died in 1978; grandmother in 2010, and mom in 2009. My uncle is now purchasing the farm that my grandfather and grandmother owned. He had been paying rent to my grandmother until her death. The proceeds will be distributed to my 3 aunts and my father. Am I entitled to any of these proceeds as an heir of my mother? Or will my dad inherit all the money from the sale? My mother died with no Will. My aunt says that I’m entitled to a portion of the proceeds, but my dad is unsure.

Asked on March 13, 2011 under Estate Planning, Minnesota

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You didn't mention a Will for your grandmother, so I will also assume that she did not have one either; I will additionally assume that she did not re-marry so she had no surviving husband.  Since your mother pre-deceased (died before) your grandmother, the issue becomes whether or not the child of a pre-deceased child inherits from their grandparent?  In answering this, you should know that when someone dies without a Will, they die "intestate".  Accordingly the intestacy laws of the state that the deceased was domiciled in as of the date of their death will control.  Assuming that it was in MN, an estate passes to the "decedent's descendants by representation".  In other words, your grandmother's estate will pass to her "descendants"; for intestacy purposes that is to her children, or (since your mother died before your grandmother) to your mother's children (you and your brothers/sisters, if any).  By "representation" means that you (and your siblings, if any) will inherit the 1/4 share that your mother would have had she outlived your grandmother.  Your father is not entitled to this.  However, has a surviving spouse he is entitled to a portion of the property that was in your mother's estate.  

The above is just a brief summary based upon the limited facts given.  You should consult directly with a probate attorney.  These matters can at times get quite complicated.


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