What to do if 7 years ago my mother and stepfather died without any Wills?

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What to do if 7 years ago my mother and stepfather died without any Wills?

My stepfather was in a nursing home in a comma. My mother got sick went into the hospital passed away then 15 days later my stepfather died. I have siblings and my stepfather had children. Who inherits their properties?

Asked on September 17, 2013 under Estate Planning, Florida

Answers:

Anne Brady / Law Office of Anne Brady

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

When people die without a will, property passes according to the law of intestacy in the state.  Because your mother died first, we need to apply the law in the first case as to her death, and then secondly to your stepfather's death.  This reminds me of some of the problems on my final exam in my wills, trusts and estates class in law school.

If the nursing home and hospital were both in Florida, when your mother died, since she died with children who were not the children of her surviving spouse, your stepfather would have inherited half of her estate, and you and your siblings would inherit half.  Then when your stepfather passed, his children inherit in equal shares from him everything he inherited from your mother as well as what property he had before your mother's death. 

If they died in Arizona, upon the death of your mother, your stepfather would have inherited everything from your mother, and upon his death, his children would have inherited from him, leaving you and your siblings with nothing.  Hire a probate attorney to sort this out as it is quite complicated.

Anne Brady / Law Office of Anne Brady

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

When people die without a will, property passes according to the law of intestacy in the state.  Because your mother died first, we need to apply the law in the first case as to her death, and then secondly to your stepfather's death.  This reminds me of some of the problems on my final exam in my wills, trusts and estates class in law school.

If the nursing home and hospital were both in Florida, when your mother died, since she died with children who were not the children of her surviving spouse, your stepfather would have inherited half of her estate, and you and your siblings would inherit half.  Then when your stepfather passed, his children inherit in equal shares from him everything he inherited from your mother as well as what property he had before your mother's death. 

If they died in Arizona, upon the death of your mother, your stepfather would have inherited everything from your mother, and upon his death, his children would have inherited from him, leaving you and your siblings with nothing.  Hire a probate attorney to sort this out as it is quite complicated.


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