Am I entitled to anything other than my father's car if he did not have a will? 18 Answers as of May 22, 2013

My father recently took his own life. He's always said if he died before his wife, she would get half and I would get half of what the house sold for. They were married for over 20 years; unfortunately she says there's no will. She gave me his car because she said he wanted me to have it. The house was in his name.

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The Law Office of David L. Leon
The Law Office of David L. Leon | David L. Leon
If the house is separate property, then the wife has the right to live there, and you would get the remainder, assuming no will. If the house is community property, she would still have a life estate, but you would have an ownership interest as well.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 5/22/2013
Goldsmith & Guymon
Goldsmith & Guymon | Dara Goldsmith
In Nevada, chances are all of the assets are community property and pass to his wife under our probate code since he died without a Will. His statements do not constitute a Will. Even if the house is in his name, if it was acquired during marriage it may be community property. Absent being able to show he used an inheritance or other separate property to buy it, it all goes to her. At most if you could show it was separate property you would be entitled to a share of the house. I suggest that you meet with an attorney to address your specific situation to determine if you have or may have an interest in the house or anything else for that matter. This information is only intended to give general information in response to an inquiry. It does not establish an attorney client relationship. This response is only based upon the limited facts presented and is merely intended to assist you in determining if you should contact an attorney to provide you with legal advice.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 5/22/2013
Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
When an individual dies without a will, state statue is followed in transferring the estate between the authorized beneficiaries. Assuming you are the only child, his wife gets to keep her 1/2 of the estate and she gets 1/2 of the estate of your father. You get the remaining 1/2 of your father's estate.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 5/22/2013
Law Office of Pamela Braynon | Pamela Y. Braynon
Because your father did not leave a will, his wife is entitled to what is called a Life Estate in the home which is she would have control of the property during her life time. However, no major repairs or renovations can be made without your permission, because you have what is called a remainder interest in the home. To ensure this happens the way it should, you should retain an attorney familiar with probate in Florida. Through the probate process the title to the car can be legally placed in your name and the info about the home will be executed properly.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 5/22/2013
Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C.
Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C. | Brian Haggerty
If the house is only in your father's name, and he had no will, then you (and any siblings) own half of the house, and his wife owns half. If she will not begin the administration of his estate, you should.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 5/22/2013
    Kokish & Goldmanis, P.C.
    Kokish & Goldmanis, P.C. | Bernard H. Greenberg
    You need to review the law of intestacy in your father's state. For additional infomation, consult with an attorney specializing in estate administration.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 5/22/2013
    Law Office of Patricia A. Simmons
    Law Office of Patricia A. Simmons | Patrica A Simmons
    First, sorry for your loss. Second, in California, if an individual dies without a will, the State determines how the estate is to be divided and to whom. If there is real property and if you and your father's wife are his only heirs, you are to split that estate in equal one-half shares. Third, you should immediately contact a probate attorney to discuss the options that are available to you in this matter.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/22/2013
    Sebby Law Office
    Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
    When there is no will, many states allocate the assets between the wife and all surviving children (by birth or adoption). You will need to check the statutes in the state your father resided in at the time of his death.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 5/22/2013
    Sanford M. Martin, P.A. | Sanford M. Martin
    If your father did not leave a last will designating you as a beneficiary, his wife will get ownership of their residence. She can decide what to do with such ownership, as she apparently decided regarding the car. If you are a minor child, you are entitled to some benefits but such fact is not included in your question.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 5/22/2013
    James Law Group
    James Law Group | Christine James
    If your father owned the home prior to their marriage, depending on what loans may have been paid during the marriage, you may have a ownership share in the house. You will need to speak with an attorney as to make this determination, you will need to go to court and have it sorted out. An attorney can assess the facts and let you know what your chances are.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/22/2013
    Frederick & Frederick PLC | James P Frederick
    If this is in Michigan, it is not quite that simple. The wife gets the first $150k or so and then half of the rest. So if the house is worth less than $150k, she would get it all. There are additional allowances and exemptions that she could claim which would eat up more money, if the wife is inclined to do so. It is possible, if not likely, that upon her death, she would leave the house to you, but there is no guarantee that will happen. If she is not your mother, then you would not be considered to be HER heir. That being the case, SHE should get her estate planning in order, to clarify her intentions.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 5/22/2013
    Peters Law, PLLC
    Peters Law, PLLC | Mark T. Peters, Sr.
    Get an attorney and start a probate action. You may be entitled to one-half of the house, depending on how large your father's estate is. If the house is worth $500,000, his wife gets a $60,000 exemption and one-half the value of the house. There would still be money for you then. However, if you do nothing, you will get nothing.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 5/22/2013
    Richard J. Keyes Attorney at Law | Richard J. Keyes
    In Missouri, since your father was married at the time of his death and his spouse was not the mother of his children, the spouse gets 50% of the estate and the children receive the other 50%. See an attorney about probating the house. If the car is in his name only, the car will also have to go through probate.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 5/22/2013
    Edward L. Armstrong, P.C. | Edward L. Armstrong
    Under Missouri law when a person dies intestate (i.e., without a will) his real estate descends to his heirs at law. Heirs at law in Missouri are: Surviving spouse as to the first $20,000 in value of any assets in the estate and one-half of the balance; the other half is divided equally between the surviving children (or the heirs of any child who was dead at the time of death of the parent - so if you father had a wife and two children living at his death and another child who was dead but left two children of his/her own the surviving wife gets $20,000 plus half the balance and the other half is divided three ways - the living siblings each get 1/3 and the two children of the deceased sibling share 1/3)
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 5/22/2013
    Reger Rizzo & Darnall LLP | Kathleen DeLacy
    His wife should be entitled to a life estate in the home then it would go to his children. Or she could elect a spousal share of 1/3.
    Answer Applies to: Delaware
    Replied: 5/22/2013
    Law Offices of Robert H. Glorch | Jeffrey R. Gottlieb
    Your father was right. Since he had no Will, his estate passes 1/2 to spouse and 1/2 to children, plus spouse can receive a spouse's award. Talk to a probate attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 5/22/2013
    The Law Offices of Laurie E. Ohall, P.A.
    The Law Offices of Laurie E. Ohall, P.A. | Laurie E. Ohall
    If the house was only in your father's name, then his wife has the right to elect a life estate in the house, or she can elect (within 6 months of his date of death) to have a half interest in the house, with the other half being split among his children (if you are the only child, you would get the other half). In order for it to be split, half and half, however, she must make the election within 6 months of his death.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 5/22/2013
    Law Offices of Gerald A. Bagazinski
    Law Offices of Gerald A. Bagazinski | Gerald A. Bagazinski
    Assuming he died without a will, it depends on the value of the home. The wife has at a minimum a dower interest entitling her to 1/3 of the value of the house or her spousal allowance if the value is greater.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 5/22/2013
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