What happens if mother dies in intestate and father takes everything and gives nothing to his children? Can he do that? 15 Answers as of February 25, 2014

My boyfriend's mother died when he was 19 yrs old. She had life insurance and a house with husband. They had two kids. She never left a will but took care of all finances including his college. My boyfriend is 26 now. He never claim anything when she died and is merged under lots of school loans after he graduated. All I know is his father took all the life insurance and only provided them (2 children) a house to sleep in. They started paying their own bills and everything after mom passed away. Can he do that? Does my boyfriend have rights? Can he claim anything from his mom after 7 years? The only thing his father might have now might be the house they live in.

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Law Offices of Ronald A. Steinberg & Associates | Ronald A. Steinberg, BA, MA, JD
It depends on the law of your state.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 2/25/2014
Strickland Law, PLLC
Strickland Law, PLLC | Jeffrey S. Strickland
If only the father was a named beneficiary, then your boyfriend has no right to any of the proceeds. If there were other assets in joining names, then all belongs to the father. If other assets in only mother's name, then probate proceeding needed.
Answer Applies to: Tennessee
Replied: 2/20/2014
Michael Breczinski
Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
She died without a will so the answer to this is in the intestate succession rules for your State. These are rules that say what happens to the property if someone dies without a will. Also if they bought the house as husband and wife then it is his automatically and only the other property is subject to the intestate succession rules.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 2/20/2014
The Krone Law Firm, LLC | Norman B. Krone
There are many unknown facts in your question. Who was the beneficiary of the insurance policy? Who owned the house? How was the house titled? These facts must be known to determine what rights your boyfriend may have.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 2/24/2014
Andrew T. Velonis, P.C.
Andrew T. Velonis, P.C. | Andrew Velonis
Yes, the father can do that. It is his property and he can do as he sees fit, moral issues notwithstanding.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 2/20/2014
    MatthewR. Schutz, Esq | Matthew R. Schutz
    They have some share of the inheritance. The share is dependent on the number of siblings there are.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 2/20/2014
    Dessy & Dessy, a Professional Corporation | Ronald D. Dessy
    If the mother died without leaving a trust or a will providing for the distribution of her assets following her death, then both her husband and natural children are entitled to inherit from her, unless her assets were held with her and her husband as joint tenants with a right of survivorship.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/20/2014
    Law Offices of Frances Headley | Frances Headley
    When a person dies intestate, then all of the community property, ie property accumulated during their marriage, goes to surviving spouse. Unless there was separate property- inherited or acquired prior to marriage or a beneficiary designation of someone other than the spouse then all of the property would go to the spouse.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/20/2014
    Law Office of Jack Longert, LLC | Jack Longert
    In Wisconsin, if there is no will, everything goes to the spouse, though depending on the amount and type of property involved, a probate action might have been necessary before father gets everything. You should check with an estate planning attorney. The seven year delay makes this assertion even stronger.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 2/20/2014
    Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
    Depending on the state she lived, one who dies intestate in Washington gives their share of the communal estate to the surviving spouse. The beneficiary identified on the life insurance policy would be the receiver of those proceeds.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 2/20/2014
    Peters Law, PLLC
    Peters Law, PLLC | Mark T. Peters, Sr.
    Of course he can do that. He was the husband and chances are all of the property was held jointly, which would mean that when she died, he got it. Also, life insurance goes to the beneficiary. Apparently he was the beneficiary, so he got that too. Finally, it has been more then 3 years since his mother died and the time to file for probate has long passed.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 2/20/2014
    Law Ofices of Edwin K. Niles | Edwin K. Niles
    Without a will, community property would go to the husband. The insurance would go to the named beneficiary, if any. There is a possibility that he received the insurance proceeds as guardian of the kids, you'd have to do some detective work.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/20/2014
    Kirby G. Moss PC | Kirby G. Moss
    I'm guessing that the house was in mother and father's names so it went to him upon her death. Likewise I'm guessing the life policy named the father as beneficiary so it went to him as well. Under these circumstances, not much can be done.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 2/20/2014
    Fluhr & Moore, LLC | Steven S. Fluhr
    His father inherited all the money so he can do with it what he wants.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 2/20/2014
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