What happens to a settlement if father dies before the check is issued?

My stepmother is saying that he signed stating that if he passed the supposed $52,500 check was to be issued to her to split as she choses. I was wondering if this was true or if it would have to follow state intestacy laws for disbursement? At this time I am not sure if that check will even be that much.

Asked on June 29, 2017 under Estate Planning, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

It doesn't matter whether he signed the alleged statement or not, unless that "statement" was in fact a valid and properly executed/witnessed will. Only a will controls what happens to a person's assets after death; no other document, statement, etc. has an effect. So if there is a will and it directs what happens to this check, follow the will's instructions; if there is not, then this asset, along with your father's other assets, will be distributed according to the rules for intestate succession (who gets what when there is no will).

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