If my father died without a Will and left my stepmother in charge of everything, is there anything that I can do to receive anything?

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If my father died without a Will and left my stepmother in charge of everything, is there anything that I can do to receive anything?

Asked on June 28, 2015 under Estate Planning, California

Answers:

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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

If someone dies without a Will then they die "intestate". Accordingly the interstacy laws of the state in which they were domiciled as of the date of their death will control. Typically the division is 1/2-1/3 to the survingvi spouse, if any, and the remainder to be equally dicided among the children of the deceased.

Consequently, you are entitled to a portion of the assets that remain after all creditors are paid and other financial obligtions of the estate have been satisfied. So even if your stepmother has been named the estate's Personal Representative (like an executor when there's no Will), she still must distribute your father's assets according to state law.

At this point, you may want to consult directly with a probate attrorney or at least obtain further information from the appropriate probate court (i.e. the one located in the county where the estate will be probated).


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