Can I sue my sister for my part of an inheritance?

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Can I sue my sister for my part of an inheritance?

I just found out that father passed away in 09/09. My sister took all of my father’s money. Can I sue her for my part of the inheritance even if I am not in the Will? Are Wills public record and can I get a copy of it for myself?

Asked on October 30, 2010 under Estate Planning, Virginia

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, a parent may disinherit their child.  Typically, children have no right to inherit anything from their parents.  However, most states do have laws to protect against accidental disinheritance.  In rare cases, a child may have a right to what is known as “elect against the Will”.  Examples would be if it appears the parent did not know about a child; or if the child was born after the Will was signed (note: to disinherit these latter children, there must be specific disinheritance language in the Will). Otherwise, if there is a Will and you're not in it, you are not entitled to anything.

To see a copy of his Will, you will need to contact the probate c (or circuit court if in VA) in the county where your father was domiciled at the time of his death. That is where it would have been filed.  For a small fee you, or anyone for that matter, can view it since it is now a matter of public record.

If you were mentioned in the Will and did not receive your inheritance, they you will need to seek legal counsel as to your rights.

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, a parent may disinherit their child.  Typically, children have no right to inherit anything from their parents.  However, most states do have laws to protect against accidental disinheritance.  In rare cases, a child may have a right to what is known as “elect against the Will”.  Examples would be if it appears the parent did not know about a child; or if the child was born after the Will was signed (note: to disinherit these latter children, there must be specific disinheritance language in the Will). Otherwise, if there is a Will and you're not in it, you are not entitled to anything.

To see a copy of his Will, you will need to contact the probate c (or circuit court if in VA) in the county where your father was domiciled at the time of his death. That is where it would have been filed.  For a small fee you, or anyone for that matter, can view it since it is now a matter of public record.

If you were mentioned in the Will and did not receive your inheritance, they you will need to seek legal counsel as to your rights.


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