If my stepfather)passed away, do I have any legal rights when it comes to his estate?

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If my stepfather)passed away, do I have any legal rights when it comes to his estate?

He married my mother when I was 3 years old. They then had 2 children but They divorced (years later).

Asked on May 11, 2014 under Estate Planning, Virginia

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

Sorry to hear about your stepfather.

If your stepfather left a Will, the Will is controlling as to disposition of his estate.

If your stepfather did NOT leave a Will, the rules of intestate succession determine inheritance.  Intestate means dying without a Will.

Under the rules of intestate succession, if your stepfather had a surviving spouse, she inherits the entire estate.  If there isn't any surviving spouse (your mother is not a surviving spouse due to divorce from your stepfather), the estate is divided equally among the three surviving children (you and your two siblings).  If a child predeceased your stepfather, but had surviving children (your stepfather's grandchildren), those grandchildren would inherit the share their deceased parent would have inherited had that parent survived.

Being a stepchild does NOT affect your right to your inheritance.  You and your two siblings each inherit 1/3 of your stepfather's estate if there isn't any surviving spouse.


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