Is my stepmother entitled to my father’s pre-marital property since he died without a Will?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Is my stepmother entitled to my father’s pre-marital property since he died without a Will?

My father passed away last month. My stepmother assumed she would inherit everything until my siblings and I told her that she would need to file probate paperwork. She is trying to sell

everything quickly and move out of state with her children; she has no plans on dividing my father’s property with me and my 2 siblings. She is also taking highly valuable artwork that my father acquired during his marriage to my mother, who is now deceased. What legal rights do we have to protect my father’s property from my stepmother selling it all?

Asked on June 5, 2016 under Estate Planning, Georgia


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

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

When someone dies "intestate", that is without a Will, the distribution of their estate is left up to controlling state law. Typically, it is divided between the surviving spouse (1/3-1/2) and the remainder to the children of the deceased, to be split equally. At this point, you would be well advised to consult directly with a probate attorney in the area ASAP. They can best advise you further.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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