If my mother passed without a Will, what happens to he estate?

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If my mother passed without a Will, what happens to he estate?

My name is on the deed with my sister. There is a Will in my sister’s name but I am my mother’s full second child and the Will was made before me. What do I do?

Asked on June 22, 2016 under Estate Planning, Michigan

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If your name is already on a deed to property, then you are owner or part owner of that property, and that cannot be changed by the will: your mother's will does not affect your ownership of assets, only the distribution of anything she owned.
Since your mother has passed, her will obviously cannot be amended or revised. If the language in the will refers to "children", even if only your sister was named by name, since only she'd been born at that time, a court would generally find that it applies to you, too: "children," being plural, refers to all children, and the fact that only the then-existing child was also named would typically not be seen to alter that. So any provisions which refer to "children" should relate to you, too.
But if the will doesn't use the word "children" or otherwise evidence an intention to apply to all children, including "after born" children, but rather only identifies your sister specifically, that most courts would find you are not included in the will: in this case, the language of the will would not permit an inference that all children were to be covered, and the language of the will must be given effect.


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