If I am my mother’s only child, what are my rights if she died without a Will?

UPDATED: Oct 20, 2012

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If I am my mother’s only child, what are my rights if she died without a Will?

After divorcing my father, she remarried. I just found out that my mother died about 18 months ago. As far as I know, the house and savings account were in her name only and she did not have a Will. Her husband is still alive and living in the home. I am my mother’s only heir; I have no siblings or half-siblings.

Asked on October 20, 2012 under Estate Planning, Indiana


Catherine Blackburn / Blackburn Law Firm

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

What happens to your mother's assets if she died without a will depends on the law of her state.  In Florida, her spouse would get half and you would get half.  Your state may be different.

To find out what you are entitled to, search on the internet for "statute of descent and distribution in __________" (the state where your mother lived).  This will tell you who inherits her property.

If you are entitled to all or some of her property, it will be necessary to open an estate to get it.  I strongly suggest you consult a lawyer to open the estate.  In Florida, you are required to have a lawyer for this.

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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