What are my rights

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What are my rights

My grandmother died and I haven’t seen her in 20 years. My aunt notified me. She said that there was an estate but she didn’t think it was much, however for some reason she is contesting it. Now whatever my father was entitled to would go to me and my brother since he died 33 years ago. That’s what my aunt told me. Other than that, she hasn’t said anything else. I think she doesn’t want me or my brother to get anything. What should I do? I’m not greedy but I don’t like being lied to either.

Asked on July 29, 2018 under Estate Planning, Tennessee

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If there was a will, follow its provisions in terms of who inherits, including when an heir (assuming your father was an heir or beneficiary under the will) predeceases the testator (person making the will; your grandmother).
When there is no will, the estate passes by intestate succession: assuming that your grandmother did not have a surviving spouse when she passed away, in your state (TN), your grandmother's estate (the assets she left behind) is split evenly between her children. If any of her children (like your father) predecease her, that child's share goes to his own children in equal shares. So say your grandmother had two children: your father and your aunt, and that your father had two children, you and your brother. The aunt gets 1/2 the estate, and you and your brother share your father's 1/2, or 1/4 each. You therefoe would have grounds to bring a legal action in probate court to seek you share of the inheritance.


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