What can we do if I was adopted at birth and my father died without a will? 20 Answers as of February 25, 2014

I was adopted at birth, my father died without a will, leaving behind my mother and I, I wanted to know who gets his property? Right now we are being sued by his nephew for everything, and it seems there is nothing we can do about it! Is this right? Help please!

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Stephens Gourley & Bywater | David A. Stephens
If you were adopted in Nevada you would inherit as if you were a natural child. In Nevada when a parent dies intestate the estate is split between the mother and children. Please note, community property is inherited by the wife.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 2/24/2014
Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C.
Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C. | Brian Haggerty
Nephew? How does nephew trump the wife? If your father died with no will (and your father had no other children born to another woman) then his wife inherits all. He can sue you all day long if he wants; once you get in front of the judge and present the wife who lawfully inherits, then nephew is left to explain his predatory use of civil process.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 2/24/2014
Ashcraft & Ashcraft, Ltd.
Ashcraft & Ashcraft, Ltd. | Randall C. Romei
As an adopted child you are an heir and descendant of your adoptive father. You would receive a child's share of your adopted father's estate. Your father's living spouse would receive of the estate and the children, born to or adopted by your father, would equally share in of the estate. If no living spouse then the children share the entire estate. As an adopted child you are not considered a descendant of your natural father, but there are certain exceptions. If you were adopted by a descendant of your natural great-grandfather then you would be a descendant of your natural father. If your father died before you were adopted you would be a descendant. If your natural father by written instrument and clear and convincing evidence stated that he wanted to treat you as his descendant the you would be a descendant.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 2/24/2014
Bentley Law
Bentley Law | Walter H. Bentley III
If your Father adopted you, then you are treated the same as his biological children and have all of the same rights. If he died without a will (intestate) then everything he left behind(his estate) will have to go through probate. That will occur in the county in which he passed. If there is already a lawsuit against you, you need to consult a lawyer. Probate litigation can be very complicated and you need someone to properly represent you.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 2/24/2014
Law Office of Pamela Braynon | Pamela Y. Braynon
The adoption does not mean anything as far as your inheritance is concerned. Your mom should inherit the first $60,000.00 and you will receive 1/2 of the balance and your mom will receive the other half of your father's assets. Now if your father had real property that he inherited, there may be some restrictions as to how that is passed down from the person he inherited it from. However, you would have to look at the person's will that your dad inherited it from. Otherwise, that described above should be how the estate should be distributed. See an attorney on this.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 2/24/2014
    Irsfeld, Irsfeld & Younger LLP | Norman H. Green
    If your father was married, all community property goes to his wife, and separate property gets divided equally between you and her. If he was not married, then you get it all.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/24/2014
    Law Office of Patricia A. Simmons
    Law Office of Patricia A. Simmons | Patrica A Simmons
    In California when an individual dies without a will, his/her estate is distributed according to intestate succession. If you are the only child, your mother and you would receive an equal 1/2 share of any estate. An adopted child is treated as a natural child. Contact a probate attorney to assist you and discuss the nephew's claims.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/24/2014
    Peters Law, PLLC
    Peters Law, PLLC | Mark T. Peters, Sr.
    You need to find a local probate attorney. Generally, the wife gets everything if the property was held jointly. Since you were adopted, you are his daughter and if the child is entitled to a portion of the property it is yours. I don't know why the nephew is suing, but you need to get a local probate attorney to help you through this.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 2/24/2014
    Law Offices of George H. Shers | George H. Shers
    If your father adopted you then your legal rights are the same as though you were a child of his body. His nephew clearly has no right to inherit with both your father's spouse and you alive. I have no idea what he is suing you or your father for. You need to give us more details, but you also clearly will need to see an attorney for exact legal advice as to how to defend yourselves.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/24/2014
    Goldsmith & Guymon
    Goldsmith & Guymon | Dara Goldsmith
    Is your father who adopted you? If so you may be a beneficiary. If you were adopted by another then your "birth father" is no longer your father. If you were adopted by another then you have no right to your birth Father's estate absent him naming you in a will. If you still have questions, seek legal counsel.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 2/24/2014
    James Law Group
    James Law Group | Christine James
    If there is no will your nephew should not be involved at all. You and your mother would be the heirs (if your father adopted you, not gave you up for adoption). Get an attorney as soon as possible. If cost is an issue, find an attorney who will work with you on fees but it seems like your nephew is taking advantage of you.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/24/2014
    Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
    In Washington, when one dies intestate (without a will), the estate goes to the surviving spouse. If no surviving spouse, then the children; includes adopted. The nephew does not fit in the picture. You need to get a probate attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 2/24/2014
    Estrada Law P.C. | Michele Ungvarsky
    Contact an Estate Planning Attorney. Upon adoption in most states you become the child and heir of your adoptive parents. Please seek professional help.
    Answer Applies to: New Mexico
    Replied: 2/25/2014
    Tarasyuk Law Offices
    Tarasyuk Law Offices | Anna Tarasyuk
    You should definitely talk with an attorney. You should know that in California, legally adopted children are, for inheritance purposes, treated like natural born children.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/24/2014
    Law Office of Jeffrey T. Reed | Jeffrey T. Reed
    If your father died without a will, or intestate, in California then his wife, your mother, should inherit all the community property and you and your mother should split his separate property. Legally adopted children in California should receive a share just as if they were biological children. Without knowing what his nephews claims are I cant say for sure what effect he has on the process. If he is suing you though, you will need to hire an attorney as soon as possible to respond to his claims and guide you through the process.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/24/2014
    Law Office Of Victor Waid
    Law Office Of Victor Waid | Victor Waid
    If you are the legally adopted child of the father, then you may share in the estate of your father, if property was not held in joint tenancy by your mother with your deceased father. If mother held property in joint tenancy or community property, then she survived to his interest. You are advised to obtain the services of a probate litigation attorney to assist you in protecting your rights in the father's estate.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/21/2014
    Law Offices of Robert H. Glorch | Jeffrey R. Gottlieb
    Need more detail to ascertain whether you are an heir. Take a look at 755 ILCS 5/2-4 and talk to a probate attorney directly.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 2/25/2014
    Coulter's Law
    Coulter's Law | Coulter K. Richardson
    Your father died "intestate." That means dying without a will.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 2/21/2014
    Frederick & Frederick PLC | James P Frederick
    There are not enough facts to answer this. Were your parents married? How were their assets titled? In the absence of a Will, the assets that belonged to your father would pass to his next of kin. If your parents were not married, then that would be you, assuming it was a legal adoption. You probably need an attorney to assist you in defending this, since the nephew appears to be determined to pursue this.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 2/24/2014
    Sebby Law Office
    Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
    Check the intestacy statutes of the state your father resided in at the time of his death. Generally, the surviving spouse and the decedent's surviving children both by birth and by adoption have the strongest claim to the estate.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 2/21/2014
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