What to do about property of deceased father and stepmother’s rights?

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What to do about property of deceased father and stepmother’s rights?

My father passed away almost 3 years ago. He had 4 adult children from his first marriage. My stepmother had 1 child and my father adopted him after they married. My stepmother dropped all contact with the 4 of us after he died. She died of cancer a month ago but we found out through property deeds that she left the house and everything to her son. We don’t know if my father had a Will. I called the county that he died in to see if one went to probate, but they said one had not been filled. Just need to know if it is worth going to talk to an estate attorney. In Fulton County, GA.

Asked on November 22, 2010 under Estate Planning, Georgia

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss and for your troubles.  It may be worth your while to go and speak with an estate attorney in your area on the matter.  It is more than likely that your Father added his Wife to the deed of the property in question and that it passed to her automatically at the time of his death.  This happens "by operation of law" when spouses pass away.  They hold the property with "rights of survivorship."  Once it passes to her then she can will it to whomever she wishes.  But check and see if that is really the case here and if there was a Will at all.  There might not have been.  Good luck.


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