How does the law work with a parents death when there is a stepparent and blood children involved?

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How does the law work with a parents death when there is a stepparent and blood children involved?

My father owns 6 acres of land that I live on that he bought when I was just a kid. When he remarried to my stepmother he took out a loan against it with her name on the loan but not the deed. Now they are legally separated. I was wondering what part, if any, that may play in the claiming of the estate and how that will work between his blood children and her. He just passed away this weekend and I need to see what to do as being the oldest of the blood children.

Asked on September 29, 2011 under Estate Planning, Alabama

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

First of all, because there was no divorce, your stepmother remained your father's legal spouse. Secondly, you did not mention a Will assume that your father did not have one.

Accordingly, his estate will pass via the "intestacy" laws ofthe state in which he was domiciled as of the date of his death. Typically, a surviving spouse is entitled to 1/2 -1/3 of the assets and the deceased's biological/adopted children inherit the remainder (however, this varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction).

Note: As to the real estate, it will pass by intestate succession since her name was not on the deed (the names on the mortgage have no legal bearing).


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