If my husband passed away leaving no Will, what happens to his estate?

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If my husband passed away leaving no Will, what happens to his estate?

Our marriage lasted for almost 8 years. The house 2 of us lived in is paid for and titled only with his name. It is sitting on about 30 acres of land.There 2 heirs – me (49 years old) and his son from previous marriage (33 years old). I don’t want to live in the house knowing that somebody waits for me to die to inherit it. I also want his son to get something after his father right away, not when I die. If I choose to sell the house will it become a part of the estate or the funds will be divided some other way between me and his son? Which way? If he and I reach the agreement that I, for instance, get the house with the minimum acreage and he gets the rest of the l

Asked on June 19, 2013 under Estate Planning, Minnesota

Answers:

Tricia Dwyer / Tricia Dwyer Esq & Associates PLLC

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Hello. Your post is somewhat confusing. I am not sure whether or not your spouse has died. This website provides general information and principles of law, not the detailed legal advice you are seeking. You need help from an attorney familiar with estate planning and probate matters, and perhaps elder law. If you are in a remote area, know that you may contact any Minnesota licensed attorney for help. Some attorneys are available seven days for emergency legal needs. Many attorneys will confer initially at no charge. Then, if legal work is performed, some attorneys will provide a reduced fee for financial hardship. Some attorneys may also assist you in limited scope manner to conserve legal costs. All the best.

Nathan Wagner / Law Office of Nathan Wagner

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

In some states and in some circumstances, your stepson might inherit a fraction of your husband's estate. In California, for example, your stepson would get a portion of your husband's separate property. So if your husband bought the house before you were married, the house is separate property and your stepson would get half of it. But, he would own his half of it right away; he wouldn't wait for you to pass to get his half.  

On the other hand, if you bought the house together during the marriage, it is not separate property. It is community property, and you would inherit 100% of it. You could sell it or leave it to whomever you choose in your will. 

This is a complicated situation. I definitely recommend that you consult with a probate lawyer in your state. 

Matthew Majeski / Majeski Law, LLC

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

I'll be honest, I'm having trouble following your scenario and what exactly you're asking.  If the house is transferred to you free and clear, it's your house.  If you sell it it would not be part of the estate.  If the house is included in the will only, you will need to wait until the will is probated and the property is properly transferred to whomever the will says it should be.


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