When a married couple dies without a Will and they had children, who in entitled to what?

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When a married couple dies without a Will and they had children, who in entitled to what?

I’m the oldest of a blended family, 2 from each side. My father, who was the sole provider for their 30 years of marriage, passed away several months ago. Then last month my stepmother was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer; she passed away this week. I have been living out of state most of my adult life. My brother took most of my father’s personal belongings, minus his car and house with contents. My stepsisters are now fighting over the house. Legally what am I entitled to? Their Wills have mysteriously vanished.

Asked on December 28, 2014 under Estate Planning, Illinois

Answers:

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

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Sorry to hear about your father and stepmother.

When a person dies without a Will, the rules of intestate succession determine inheritance.  Intestate means dying without a Will.

When your father died intestate, his surviving spouse (your stepmother) inherited his entire estate.

When your stepmother died intestate, her estate is divided equally among her four surviving children.  Whether they are stepchildren or children by birth is irrelevant in determining inheritance.  Therefore, you will inherit 1/4 of the entire estate.

If there is no Will or the Will is lost, intestate succession determines inheritance.


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