What are my rights to an equal share my late father’s inheritance?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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What are my rights to an equal share my late father’s inheritance?

My grandparents have passed away years ago. They willed their home to my father and his brother, their only 2 sons. They are both co-owners of that home valued at somewhere close to $1,000,000. My father just passed away. My uncle is now claiming that with my father’s passing, the house falls completely to him and my father’s descendants receive nothing. He claims he has a Will which was never filled in court. My grandmother died 10 years ago.

Asked on October 18, 2016 under Estate Planning, California


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Sorry to hear about your father.
If your father and uncle held the home as joint tenants with right of survivorship, then your uncle is correct that upon your father's death, uncle inherits the home and your father's descendants have no claim to the home.
If your father and uncle were NOT joint tenants with right of survivorship and your father left a Will, the Will is controlling in determining who inherits the home.
If your father and uncle were NOT joint tenants with right of survivorship and your father died intestate (without a Will), the rules of intestate succession determine inheritance.  Under intestate succession, if your father had a surviving spouse, she inherits his entire estate.  If there wasn't any surviving spouse, then your  father's children inherit equal shares of his estate.  If you have any deceased sibling who had children (your father's grandchildren), they inherit the share their deceased parent would have inherited had their deceased parent survived. 
For example, if your father died intestate and had no surviving spouse and three children including you, then each child inherits 1/3 of his estate.
 If your father died intestate, had no surviving spouse, but had two surviving children and one child who predeceased him who had two children, then you receive 1/3, your surviving sibling receives 1/3 and the two children of your deceased sibling each receive 1/6 because 1/6 + 1/6 = 2/6=1/3.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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