Are children from a first marriage entitled to anything from their deceased father’s estate?

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Are children from a first marriage entitled to anything from their deceased father’s estate?

My dad divorced 30 years ago and was common law married to my mother for 22 years. Now he is deceased. Can his older children from his first marriage have a claim to what he has with his new family?

Asked on November 21, 2011 under Estate Planning, Mississippi

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

First of all I will assume that there is no Will since you did not mention one. In that case your father died "intestate" (i.e. without a Will). Accordingly, his estate will be distributed pursuant to the laws of the state in which he was domiciled as of the date of his death. Typically this means 1/2-1/3 to the surviving spouse, if any, and 2/3-1/2 to the children of the deceased. And "children" mean all children, whether from a previous marriage or relationship.

So your stepbrothers and stepsister's are entitled to their statutory share of your father's estate. At this point, you should consult directly with a probate attorney in the area of where your father died. They can best explain all of this to you in light of specific state law.


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