Am I entitled to any of my mothers property or assets?

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Am I entitled to any of my mothers property or assets?

My mother passed away over 1 1/2 years ago. She was still married to my father. My sister and I are her only children. She passed away with $90,000 and 2 homes. My father has spent all the money and is wanting to sign the houses over to his new girlfriend. What I need to know is do me and my sister have any rights to the property. If so, what do we need to do? I know nothing about this stuff so I do not know where to start.

Asked on August 31, 2017 under Estate Planning, North Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If she had a will, the assets should have gone to whomever the will indicated they would go--which would likely be your father, but she could have had them go to you and sister instead.
If there was no will, then subject to the below, in your state (according to the rules for "intestate succession"), your father would have received 1/3rd the value of her real estate, the first $60,000 of her non-real estate assets, and 1/3 of her non-real estate assets in excess and $60,000; you and your sister would receive the balance.
HOWEVER:
Any real estate owned joinly with your father would not be part of her estate, but rather would automatically become his as the surviving joint owner or "tenant."
Any bank accounts owned jointly with him would similarly automatically become his; or any bank accounts solely in her name, but which were "pay on death" (POD) or "transfer on death" (TOD) to him, who automatically go to him on her death.
So it may be that he received everything she had anyway, if it was jointly titled or owned beteween the two of you.
If you believe that you were entitled to some of her assets, either per a will or under the rules or intestate succession, contact a probate attorney to find out how to seek your share. The same lawyer should be able to represent you and your sister, letting you share the cost(s).


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