If my dad passed with no will, his new wife will not allow me access to anything of his, what are my legal rights? 20 Answers as of July 25, 2013

Only married about a year and a couple of months.

Ask a Local Attorney. 100% Anonymous. Free Answers.

Free Case Evaluation by a Local Lawyer: Click here
Edward L. Armstrong, P.C. | Edward L. Armstrong
Has an estate been opened for your father? This can be tricky and I would recommend you retain counsel. If your father had a will it operates only as to assets that are titled in his name alone. In all probability, he has titled everything jointly with the wife. If there is a will, you can contest it but only after he dies. An estate would have to be opened quickly in the probate division of the circuit court of the county that he lives in at the time of his death. You should seek legal advice from an attorney.
Answer Applies to: Missouri
Replied: 7/25/2013
Law Office of Thomas C. Phipps | Thomas C Phipps
You can file a petition in probate court to open an estate. You can ask that you be appointed personal representative.
Answer Applies to: Missouri
Replied: 7/19/2013
Goldsmith & Guymon
Goldsmith & Guymon | Dara Goldsmith
It all depends upon how the assets were titled. You should speak with an attorney in the community where your father lived.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 7/25/2013
Law Office of Pamela Braynon | Pamela Y. Braynon
See an attorney familiar with probate to begin the probate process. Wife is entitled to the 1st $60,000 and 1/2 of what's left. If he owned a house prior to his marriage, she will receive a life estate in the house, meaning she can live there for the rest of her life. After she passes away, you are entitled to the house. She won't be able to sell the house because of that. See an attorney to ensure you receive what you are entitled to.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 7/25/2013
Sebby Law Office
Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
Depending on the state your father resided in at the time of his death, you may have a claim to some of the estate. Often assets are divided up between the surviving spouse and any living children. Check state statutes for specifics.
Answer Applies to: Nebraska
Replied: 7/25/2013
    Wood & Smith Legal Services, LLC | Emily Wood Smith
    Alabama's intestacy statute (AL 43-8-42) provides for a share of property to pass to heirs other than a spouse when someone dies. If your father died without a will, this provision of the Alabama code provides that his children will inherit everything that does not pass to his spouse. Under Alabama 43-8-41, your father's wife will inherit a certain amount of property based on whether or not your father has surviving children, and whether or not she was the mother of some, all, or none of those children. You are likely entitled to some of his property under the intestacy statute. Some additional questions will need to be answered to determine how much of his estate you are entitled to, such as: does your father have any other children? Contacting an attorney can help determine what you may be entitled to.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 7/25/2013
    Frederick & Frederick PLC | James P Frederick
    The length of the marriage does not matter for probate purposes. The widow is in a strong position under Michigan intestate laws. Unless an asset was jointly owned between your father and you, then you may not have any recourse. You should meet with an attorney, review all of the asset records and determine what your rights are, if any.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/18/2013
    Law Office Of Victor Waid
    Law Office Of Victor Waid | Victor Waid
    Obtain the assistance of a probate litigation lawyer to assist you in forcing the new former wife to account for your father's estate.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/25/2013
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law | Charles M. Schiff
    Without knowing the assets involved in the estate it is impossible to tell you whether it is worthwhile for you to enforce your rights. The surviving spouse has a number of rights that may eat up a small estate, but, you may be entitled to a portion of the estate. The length of the marriage is not a factor.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 7/25/2013
    Reger Rizzo & Darnall LLP | Kathleen DeLacy
    It depends on how his property was titled. If joint with wife she is owner by operation of law upon his death.
    Answer Applies to: Delaware
    Replied: 7/25/2013
    Richard J. Keyes Attorney at Law | Richard J. Keyes
    If everything is in joint names between your father and his new wife, there are no assets that have to be probated and you are not entitled to anything. If there are no assets to be probated and you want specific personal items of your father, ask for the specific items from your step-mother and tell her you do not want anything else.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 7/25/2013
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    As he died without a will it is up to the laws of the state in which he resided at the time of his death.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/25/2013
    The Schreiber Law Firm
    The Schreiber Law Firm | Jeffrey D. Schreiber
    If he died without a will, then the intestacy laws of the state where he lived will control who receives his property. As the intestacy laws of each state are different in each state, you would have to consult with a probate attorney in that state to determine the rights of a widow and the children to the estate under the intestacy laws.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/18/2013
    James T. Weiner & Associates, P.C.
    James T. Weiner & Associates, P.C. | James T. Weiner
    In Michigan without a will and with a wife that is not the mother of the deceased children I believe the mom gets the first $50K of the estate and 50% of the balance the other 50% goes to the children write her a letter asking for the information. If she does not respond.. get a copy of your dad's death certificate and file a probate action requesting to be named personal representative of his estate then YOU have legal power to investigate. Obviously I recommend hiring an attorney to assist with this.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/25/2013
    James Oberholtzer, Attorney at Law
    James Oberholtzer, Attorney at Law | James Oberholtzer
    She gets half and the children who are not hers get half.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 7/25/2013
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C.
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C. | Brian Haggerty
    If he owned anything in his sole name (not jointly with her) then petition the court for the administration of his intestate estate. Things he owned in his sole name will be split, 50% to her and 50% to you and your siblings.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 7/25/2013
    Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
    In a community property state, each spouse owns one-half of the estate. Since there is no will, your father's one-half is divided with one-half of the half will go to your step mother. The remaining one-half (1/4 of the estate) is divided equally with the children. You can petition the court to initiate probate.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/25/2013
    Danville Law Group | Scott Jordan
    Assuming your father's estate was not community property with his new wife, and that his estate is worth more than $150,000, a petition for probate should be filed. Under California law, you (and any siblings) are entitled to portion of his estate. You should act quickly before the new wife tries to take everything for herself.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/25/2013
    James Law Group
    James Law Group | Christine James
    File a petition for probate if the estate exceeds $150,000. You have a right to a portion of his estate by law if he died without a will or trust. If the estate is less than $150,000, you may just want to pay an attorney to write her a letter advising her of the law and telling her what you want and see where it goes from there.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/25/2013
    Kokish & Goldmanis, P.C.
    Kokish & Goldmanis, P.C. | Bernard H. Greenberg
    First step: file a Demand for Notice with the Probate Court. Second step: file an Application for Probate with the Probate Court. Third step: consult with an attorney who specializes in estates.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 7/25/2013
Click to View More Answers:
12 3 4 Free Legal QuestionsConnect with a local attorney