Probate attorney’s responsibilities under the law

My father passed away in Kentucky without a will and my stepmother is trying to sell me his things. Is that legal, because I just found out we’re his children untitled to half of his estate? Was she, or her attorney, required to inform us that we were entitled to half? Thank you.

Asked on July 7, 2016 under Estate Planning, South Carolina

Answers:

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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Sorry to hear about your father.
Since he died intestate (without a Will), the rules of intestate succession determine inheritance.
Under intestate succession, the surviving spouse inherits your father's entire estate.  Therefore, your stepmother inherited your father's entire estate and can sell his property.
If there had not been a surviving spouse, the children would have inherited equal shares of the estate.


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