What can be done when a single mother dies leaving everything to only one daughter?

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What can be done when a single mother dies leaving everything to only one daughter?

The mother of a friend of mine died earlier this year but she was not listed as 1 of 2 surviving siblings in the obituary. This friend has found out that in recent years the law regarding the death of a parent and their surviving children has changed. It is the understanding that all siblings are to get an equal split in all the deceased parent owns. There was no husband to the deceased only 2 daughters. What can my friend do to set things right now?

Asked on September 27, 2011 under Estate Planning, Maryland

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

First of all, your friend would need to speak with a MD attorney as to specific state law. However, I think that your friend might mistaken. The general rule is that a parent may disinherit their child. In other words, a child has no automatic rights of inheritance insofar as their parent's estate is concerned.

That having been said, simply not naming a child in a Will may not succeed in disinheriting them, at least in some states. The reason is that the child could argue that being left out was an oversight by their parent. Consequently, if a child is disinherited it is sometimes best to mention them in the Will and specifically state they are not being left a bequest (no reason need be given).


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