If my wife’s father never wanted anything to do with her passed away about 9 months ago, does she have any legal right to his estate?

Asked on December 12, 2015 under Estate Planning, Iowa


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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

If your wife's father left a Will, the provisions of the Will are controlling in determining inheritance.
If he did NOT leave a Will, the rules of intestate succession determine inheritance.  Intestate means dying without a Will.
Under intestate succession, if your wife's father had a surviving spouse, the spouse inherits the entire estate.  If there wasn't a surviving spouse, the estate is divided equally among the children.  Depending on the number of siblings your wife has, she will receive a portion of the estate.  For example, if there are three children including your wife, she receives 1/3 of her father's estate.  If any of her siblings are deceased and they had children, their children receive the portion of the estate their parent would have received had their parent survived.

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