What are my rights if my father passed away last month leaving a surviving spouse, my stepmother?

UPDATED: Apr 3, 2013

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What are my rights if my father passed away last month leaving a surviving spouse, my stepmother?

He remarried 13 years ago; he had hunting rifles that were his before his marriage. My brother and I would like the rifles. His wife is claiming that everything is hers. Do we have any rights?

Asked on April 3, 2013 under Estate Planning, Pennsylvania


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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

It appears that there ws no Will;at least that is my assumption since you did not mention one. In such a case (i.e. one in which someone dies without a Will), the deceased is said to have died "intestste". Accordingly the intestacy or "succession" laws of the state in which he was a resident at the time of his death will control. Typically, these laws orovide that 1/2-1/3 of than estate goes to the surviving spouse, if any, and the other 1/2-2/3 to be evenly split among the deceased's children. However, these laws vary from state-to-state.

At this point, you should consult with a probate attorney in the area.

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 AttorneyPages.com 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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