Ifmy father died without a Will who inherits his estate?

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Ifmy father died without a Will who inherits his estate?

I was told that there was a Will by my stepmother but I have found none filed in the county court where he lived for the past 29 years. His only family is my stepmother and I.

Asked on December 30, 2011 under Estate Planning, Washington

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  A Will does not necessarily have to be filed.  It can be held by the attorney that prepared the Will or in a safety deposit box or just at home.  But if you can not find it and have no way to get a copy (like from the attorney) and try and prove the copy of the Will as valid then you Father will be deeded to have died "intestate" and the intestacy statutes in the state will apply. Now, first you have to determine what property of his is subject to inclusion in the estate.  If there was property held jointly with your step mother then it passed to her by law upon his death.  It is not part of the estate for distribution.  Then generally the wife gets a portion of the estate and the child or children share the rest.  Please go and seek help from an attorney.  Good luck.


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