Can my father leave his half of his estate to his children?

UPDATED: Sep 16, 2011

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Can my father leave his half of his estate to his children?

My father is married to a woman other than my mother. They have a home and some land. I need to know if my father can leave his half of house and land to his children from a previous marriage?

Asked on September 16, 2011 under Estate Planning, North Carolina


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If they own a home as joint tenants with rights of survivorship and same with the land, then there is no chance the property will go to the children from his previous marriage since if he dies first, the land automatically and the home automatically will go to his current wife by operation of law. It does not go through probate, even if he wrote a will or trust. He would have to outlive her to not make that an issue. He can, however, choose to own the property as tenants in common (changing title) and then essentially a portion of those estate would then go to her and a portion to his children. He can also discuss it with a private estate planning attorney without his wife so that he can square away his property for you and your siblings' benefit.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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