What to do if my father passed away and didn’t have a Will?

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What to do if my father passed away and didn’t have a Will?

My 2 sisters and I are wondering if we are entitled to anything? He was divorced from our mother who died several years ago and was living with his girlfriend of 7-8 years in a home with her. He did not own the home nor pay the mortgage. He did have a car and boat in his name and a lot of personal belongings. Are his children entitled to his belongings or the girlfriend who lived with him?

Asked on July 27, 2013 under Estate Planning, Minnesota

Answers:

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

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

When someone dies without a Will, they are said to have died "intestate". This means that the laws of intestacy or "succession" of the state in which they resided at the time of their death will control.

Typically this means that an estate is split beween the children of the decesed and the surviving spouse, if any. If there is no spouse than the children take all.

In your situation, your father's girlfriend has no rights to any assets that were held solely in your father's name. However, as to any jointly owned property she would have rights to (either outright or partially depending on how the assets were held).

At this point, you may want to consult directly with a probate attorney.

Matthew Majeski / Majeski Law, LLC

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

His belongings will be based based on the intestacy law of Minnesota.  In this case, his girlfriend should have no rights of inheritance of his property if he did not give it to her with some kind of legal instrument (like a will, trust, transfer on detah account, insurance policy, etc.).


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