What can I do if my dad passed away 5 months ago and his wife is refusing to tell me if he left a Will or if I was included in the Will?

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What can I do if my dad passed away 5 months ago and his wife is refusing to tell me if he left a Will or if I was included in the Will?

I am his eldest daughter born before his marriage. Do I have any legal rights as his biological daughter?

Asked on December 27, 2014 under Estate Planning, Maryland

Answers:

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

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  Of course you have legal rights!  It just needs to be clarified that you were acknowledged as his daughter during his lifetime, correct?  But understand that it is not an automatic right to inherit from any parent but generally speaking you need to be specifically disinherited under a Will. And if he and his wife held everything jointly there may be nothing separate for you to inherit.  Jointly held property passes to the other spouse upon death.  The best thing that you can do is to hire an attorney on a flat rate basis to write a letter on your behalf to your step mother.  If you think that there was a Will you should get a copy if you inherit or not. And if it was already offered for probate then you can view it as it is a public record.  Good luck.


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