Are children automatically entitled to a percentage of their father’s estate even if he is survived by a wife?

My dad passed; now we are dealing with his estate between my mother and 5 siblings. Legally, what are the childrens rights?

Asked on July 6, 2012 under Estate Planning, Michigan


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

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Sorry to hear about your dad.

If he left a Will, the provisions of the Will are controlling in determining the inheritance rights of the named beneficiaries.

If there wasn't any Will, the rules of intestate succession determine inheritance.  Intestate means dying without a Will. 

Under intestate succession, your dad's surviving spouse would inherit his entire estate.  If there had not been a surviving spouse, the estate would have been divided equally among the five children.  If you have any deceased siblings who are survived by their children (your dad's grandchildren), they would inherit their deceased parent's share if your dad had not had a surviving spouse.

Again, your dad's surviving spouse inherits his entire estate under intestate succession.

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