If my father passed away and he and my mother were seperated for over 10 years, who is entitled to his belongings?

Asked on December 2, 2011 under Estate Planning, Colorado


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

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You both are. The fact is that at the time of your father's death she was still legally married to him. So unless there was a separation or other valid legal document in which she waived her rights to his estate, she is entitled to her share his belongings.

When someone dies without a Will, they die "intestate". This means that the intestacy laws of the state in which your father was domiciled in at the dateof his death will control succession. Typically, it is something along the lines of 1/3-1/2 to the surviving spouse and the remainder to the deceased'schildren (depending on the state and just what type of property is involved).

At this point, you should consult directly with a probate attorneyin the area. Then can best go over the specifics of your case with you and advise accordingly.

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