What are a child’s rights to their father’s estate?

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What are a child’s rights to their father’s estate?

My father-in law passed away last year and in his Will left everything to my mother-in law. She passed away 2 months ago without a Will; my wife was their only child. Now my father-in laws’ children are looking to us for money, because they said the money and the house were for her to be able to enjoy a comfortable living after he passed away. They are upset because she passed away to soon after him to enjoy it. Do we have to worry about them coming after any of the money or house?

Asked on May 8, 2014 under Estate Planning, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

If he willed it to her outright (rather than, say, giving her a "life estate" to use the home while alive, but then having it go to his children after she passed), then anything she received from him was hers; and if it was hers and she died without a will, then it would all pass, according to the laws of intestate succession (what happens when there is no will) to her only child. His children may feel upset or cheated, but legally, in this scenario, there should be nothing they can do; he left her the house and money, and when she died, theyn went to her child. He could have set things of differently in his will had he wanted to, but did not.


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