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

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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

Answers:

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

Answered 4 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.


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