What to do if my father recently passed away leaving no known Will?

He left his properties in joint-tenacy with his wife, who is not the blood mother of his children. What rights dowe as blood children to our father have since there is no written will or trust of any kind left to our knowledge? If there is a current Will and his surviving wife is witholding this information from us what can we do? Do we have any rights to property while she is still alive? What can we do to protect said properties for us after she passes on? My dad, when he was alive, said that the properties were to be left to her upon his passing. I also have 2 stepsisters who are not blood and there are 4 of us who are blood to my dad. He passed over 1 1/2 years ago.

Asked on September 7, 2013 under Estate Planning, New York


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  I can understand how upset you and your siblings must be.  If your Father left all assets in joint tenancy with his Wife then the property passed to her automatically at the time of his death.  There is technically no estate to probate since joint tenancy does not require one to be filed. As I understand what you have written here you have no property rights at all - unless she so chooses - since the property will pass through her estate when she passes.  If there is a Will and assets that should pass to you then try speaking with his personal lawyer, etc. Speak with some one in your area for a full explanation.  Good luck.

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