Can my siblings and I pursue the distribution of asbestos settlement money being awarded to our father’s estate although we aren’t in his Will?

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Can my siblings and I pursue the distribution of asbestos settlement money being awarded to our father’s estate although we aren’t in his Will?

My father passed away from asbestos related lung cancer. I was named the executrix of his estate and the sole beneficiary is his female companion with whom he resided. He did not know he had the disease and his passing was very quick, 26 days. After his death I probated his assets according to his Will and my siblings and I gathered the information needed to prove our father’s exposure to asbestos. Settlement offers are now coming in and his companion verbally agreed to share the proceeds with us equally but has now changed her mind. Can we petition the Orphans Court for consideration?

Asked on August 28, 2011 Pennsylvania

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am sorry for your loss. Please seek help from an attorney in your area as soon as you possibly can.  Is his "companion" legally have an attachment to him?  Was she his wife in any sense of the word under the laws in Pennsylvania (which has a common law marriage component to the law based upon a date certain)? Then it is unclear to me that she has ANY right to the proceeds from a potential settlement for the asbestos related death.  Are you saying this because of the way his Will was written?  This "asset" of the estate is not part of his Will nor was it an asset when he passed so the Will does not cover it.  His beneficiaries at law - his children YOU - would inherit the settlement as far as I see it.  So do not roll over and give in.  If there is more to this story then right back but seek help from an  ttorney there NOW.  Good luck to you all.


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