What has the right to inherit?

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What has the right to inherit?

My father and stepmother owned a house together. He died 2 years ago and my step mother died last month. My father had 2 children and my stepmother has 1 child. Could she leave the house to her child alone?

Asked on January 9, 2013 under Estate Planning, Maryland

Answers:

Paula McGill / Paula J. McGill, Attorney at Law

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

I am licensed in Maryland.  There is no requirement the stepmother must leave the house to your father's adult children.  It was up to your father to protect you and your siblings by creating life estates and trusts.

If you want to know what you are entitled to, if anything, check with the probate court and land records.  Your father may have just protected his children. 

Catherine Blackburn / Blackburn Law Firm

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Your stepmother probably could leave the house to her child alone.  If your stepmother was on the deed with your father (which is likely), then the house passed to her when your father died.  It was then hers to what she likes.

Florida has a specific homestead law that limits somewhat how a parent can dispose of property.  However, even the Florida homestead provisions would allow your stepmother to inherit the house and then pass it on to her child alone.

I am sorry to be the harbinger of bad news.


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