If my father died and my stepmother got the house and everything else, are my brother and I entitled to anything since our dad died first?

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If my father died and my stepmother got the house and everything else, are my brother and I entitled to anything since our dad died first?

They bought a house in both of their names and it still has a mortgage. After he died 3 years ago, she got everything. My stepmom died 5 months ago and now her kids have everything and are head of the estate.

Asked on April 29, 2015 under Estate Planning, Indiana

Answers:

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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Sorry to hear about your dad and stepmother.

If your dad left a Will, the provisions of the Will are controlling and your stepmother inherited his estate pursuant to the Will.  If your dad did not leave a Will, the rules of intestate succession determine inheritance.  Intestate means dying without a Will.  Under intestate succession, your stepmother as the surviving spouse inherited your dad's entire estate.  The fact that your dad died first does not alter inheritance in this matter.

If your stepmother left a Will, the provisions of the Will are controlling.

If your stepmother did not leave a Will, the rules of intestate succession determine inheritance.  Under intestate succession, you, your brother, and your stepmother's children all inherit equal shares of her estate.  For example, if your stepmother had two children, you, your brother, and those two children each inherit 1/4 of the estate.

If your stepmother had a deceased child who had children (your stepmother's grandchildren), those grandchildren inherit the share their deceased parent would have inherited had the deceased parent survived.


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