What to do if my father recently passed without a Will and my stepmother informed me that his assets would be divided but I haven’t heard from her at all?

I am the only living child, but my deceased brothers kids are heirs also. We are wondering how to go about asking for what is legally ours? Do we need an attorney? The stepmother says she does not have to probate his estate.

Asked on June 16, 2014 under Estate Planning, Georgia

Answers:

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

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss and for the issues that have come up. If your Father died with out a WIll then his estate would be distributed according to the intestacy statutes in Georgia. Pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 53-2-1(c)(1), if the deceased is survived by only a spouse, the spouse inherits the entire estate of the deceased. If the deceased is survived by a spouse and children, the spouse shares equally with the children; however, at no time will the spouse be entitled to less than a one-third share. Now, your Brother's kids will take his share equally (so 1/3 divided between them). Here is what I am worried about.  If your step mother said that she does not have to probate his estate then that could mean that they held everything jointly with rights of survivorship.  Then those assets passed to her automatically at the time of your Father's death and he has no estate to probate.  Please speak with a lawyer in your area about doing some searching for you on a flat rate fee.  Family heirlooms could possible be requested. Look and see how the house was titled.  Good luck.


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