Having no will. What will happen to property?

My mother inherited her mother’s house
and a farm in 2004. My mother’s health
is declining and she has no will. She
has been married to my stepdad since
1975. She has 6 living children whom the
youngest two are my stepdads children.
If my mother passed away without a will,
who inherits my grandmother’s house and
her farm that was left to my mother? We
live in Wisconsin.

Asked on November 12, 2018 under Estate Planning, Wisconsin

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

When there is no will, her estate (all the property, money, assets, she owns at time of death) will pass by "intestate succession" (the rules for who gets what when there is no will. In your state (WI), that means that her spouse (your step father) keeps his share of "community property" (to oversimplify: what was acquired by the couple--that is, by either member--during marriage, other than by inheritance; he has a 1/2 share in it), plus 1/2 her "separate property" (what he had pre-marriage PLUS anything inherited solely by her during marriage); her children will share in equal shares the other 1/2 of her community and separate property. This will result in multiple people all being part or joint owners of the home. Given how many people are involved, and so how complicated or contentious this could become, you are advised to retain a probate attorney to help when the time comes.


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