What are my rights to my late father’s estate?

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What are my rights to my late father’s estate?

My father remarried 34 years ago and the Wills of my father and stepmother named my 2 stepbrothers and myself as executors. After my father passed away 14 years later, she changed the Will to exclude me, leaving my stepbrothers as sole executors. She has recently passed away and I had no knowledge that the Will had been changed. Do I have any legal recourse as we did share the same last name and all my fathers assets were brought into the marriage.

Asked on January 15, 2016 under Estate Planning, North Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

No, you probably don't have any recourse. Your father passed before your step mother: therefore anything she inherited or acquired from him or during their marriage, including property he brought into the marriage which  he gave or left to her, became hers; and since it was then her property, it was no longer "his" estate and she could choose to leave her property to anyone she choose and exclude you. This is so even if an earlier version of her will left assets to you: a person is legally free to change his/her will at any time, and is under no legal obligations to notify beneficiaries that the will was changed and/or that they are no longer inheriting.


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