What happens if my dad died unexpectedly and he and my mom were still married but haven’t been together for 6 years?

They were not legally separated. My brother and I know that my dad would not want my mom to have anything because he told us. She is mentally unstable, drinks alot, and is not working much right now. What will happen with his estate?

Asked on April 6, 2014 under Estate Planning, North Carolina

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Sorry to hear about your father.

If he left a Will, the provisions of the Will are controlling.

If he did not leave a Will, the rules of intestate succession determine inheritance.  Intestate means dying without a Will.

Under intestate succession, the surviving spouse would inherit your father's entire estate.  If your parents were separated with no intent to reunite, then there isn't any surviving spouse and the estate will be divided equally among the children.  If there is a deceased child, who had children (your father's grandchildren), they will inherit the share their deceased parent would have inherited had that parent survived.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.