What happens if my parents do not specify a benefactor? 7 Answers as of August 17, 2011

I am adopted and I am an only child. My parents did not specify a benefactor in their will, will this cause problems later? My main concern is that my uncles will try to take the estate after my parents pass. If they do not specify a benefactor can they?

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The Law Offices of Laurie E. Ohall, P.A.
The Law Offices of Laurie E. Ohall, P.A. | Laurie E. Ohall
The purpose of the Will is to let the court know who you want your assets to go to. So, very likely, your parents did name someone in their Will to inherit their assets. It simply may not specifically refer to you by name, but if it says "descendants" then that would include an adopted person, in Florida. You may want to look at the Will again.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 8/17/2011
Burnham & Associates
Burnham & Associates | Stephanie K. Burnham
A lot will depend on what the laws are in the state in which they lived. It is always a good idea to have a Last Will & Testament to ensure that your assets go where you want them to go. If you were legally adopted, you may have the right to the assets. Please review your situation with an Estate Planning Attorney.
Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
Replied: 8/17/2011
Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C.
Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C. | Brian Haggerty
The term "benefactor" is confusing. A "benefactor" is one who benefits another. The person who takes under a will is a "devisee." No one would write a will that has no devisees that would be a completely pointless document. Your parents should have some estate planning done by a lawyer experienced in the area.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 8/17/2011
Donaldson Stewart, PC
Donaldson Stewart, PC | Monica H. Donaldson Stewart
If you were adopted by your parents, then the law treats you as though you were born naturally to them. I'm not sure I understand what you mean by saying that they did not specify a "benefactor" (I think you mean "beneficiary"?) in their will - this is one of the primary purposes of the will, so if they executed one, there should be some guidance about how they wish for their estates to pass. If there is no will (or no mention of beneficiary designation in their will), then the statutory distribution would control - generally, this means that the surviving spouse inherits. If there is no surviving spouse, then the child/children inherit, etc. If you are their legal child and you survive your parents, then you would be the one in line to claim their estate (siblings are not in line to inherit if there are surviving children), unless their will (or other beneficiary/transfer designation provides otherwise).
Answer Applies to: Arizona
Replied: 8/17/2011
The Schreiber Law Firm
The Schreiber Law Firm | Jeffrey D. Schreiber
If you mean a beneficiary (not benefactor), I cannot conceive of a will that does not have a beneficiary, as that is the central purpose of a will - to name who is to received the property of the estate after death.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/16/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    There is no such thing as a benefactor and a will with no beneficiary is void. So since your parents apparently wrote something worthless without a lawyer, encourage them to see a lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/16/2011
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