If my mom died without Will, do I still get the house like she wanted me to?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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If my mom died without Will, do I still get the house like she wanted me to?

The rest of the family knows her wishes and that was that she wanted to leave the house to me, her son. I have lived in the same house for 15 years, since my father passed away. I surrported my mother since that time, with the exception of her Social Security. She had made it known to the rest of the family her intentions of leaving the house to me, unfortunately I do not have any proof for of that. However, I have declared her as a dependent for the past 3 years. How likely is it that her wishes are going to be followed?

Asked on December 10, 2017 under Estate Planning, Pennsylvania


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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

When someone dies without a Will, they die "intestate". This means that the intestacy laws of the state in which they were domilciled when they died will control. Typically, in such a situation an estate is distributed to the surviving spouse, if any, and the children of the deceased. Accordingly, assuming that there is no spouse, you and your siblings are legally entitled to your late mother's home. Whether or not you supported her, lived with her and declared her as a dependent has no bearing on the distibution of the estate. That having been said, if your siblings agree to waive their rights to the house, then you can inherit it in your name alone. Otherwise, I'm afraid that you are out of luck as to sole ownership. The fact is that oral intentions are not binding, your mother should have had a Will leaving her house to you.

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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