If my father died without a Will, who has rights to his estate?

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If my father died without a Will, who has rights to his estate?

He died last month and his second wife died 8 months ago. There is only my brother and I, 5 grandchildren, his mother, 2 half sisters and a brother. I would like to know who has rights over his estate? I was told by my aunt that we could not even go on the property. Nobody has power of attorney rights. I don’t know how to proceed.

Asked on December 16, 2012 under Estate Planning, Florida

Answers:

Victor Waid / Law Office of Victor Waid

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Your father's children and deceased children's chhildren (grandchildren) are the enttled heirs to your deceased father's estate, only.

Catherine Blackburn / Blackburn Law Firm

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Since he died without a spouse, your father's children are entitled to inherit all of your father's property.  If you and your brother are the only children, the two of you will share the property equally. 

If your father had other children who are now deceased, their children will inherit their share.  Unless they are the children of a deceased child, grandchildren do not inherit.  Since your father had children, his mother, half sisters, and brother have no rights of inheritance in Florida.

Even if someone had a power of attorney, it expired when your father passed away.

You and your brother should consult a probate attorney in the county where your father died.  That attorney can explain your aunt's error and probate your father's estate.  It will be necessary to pay the attorney, of course, but the attorney can be paid out of estate property.  An attorney is required to probate an estate in Florida.  You cannot do this yourself.


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