Does my father have any rights to his stepmother’s estate?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Does my father have any rights to his stepmother’s estate?

My parents are incredibly irresponsible with money and I found that out a few months ago. They spent money on eating out, electronics, everything because they assumed that my dad’s inheritance would pay all the debt back. They were wrong, my dad’s sister managed to talk my step grandma into giving all the money to her because she wants compensation for caring for my step-grandmother. I’d usually say my parents are screwed but most of that money was made by my dad’s biological father. I can’t believe he would have no way to claim any of that money. Right now my parents owe $70,000 and barely make minimum credit card payments. Basically, I’ve had to get a job and forgo school to fix my parents’ mistakes. Is there anything that I can do to help my parents get rights to the will and convince them to stop buying useless crap when there 70k in debt?

Asked on October 30, 2016 under Estate Planning, Illinois


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, stepmother or stepson are not legal relationships, especially for inheritance purposes: being a stepchild does not give you any legal rights to your stepmother's estate, unless and only if she had willed it to him. The fact that she may have gotten the money from your father's own biological father doesn't change anything: the source of the money does not affect the legal rights to it. If it has been, as you seem to indicate, willed to the sister, it us now hers, and he has no rights to it.

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