What rights do I have and what will happen if mother passed without a will? 6 Answers as of August 18, 2015

My mother passed recently without a will. My mother married a man (my stepfather) and he too has passed several years ago. The stepfather has a son, who lived with his biological mother, not at my mother’s house, and has not seen him in 30 years. Now when my mother passed away, he made a point to come to my mother’s house when she asked for me to come and him. She was not of sound mind, as her deplorable living conditions would tell you this. Stepbrother has now attained a probate lawyer and wants to divide assets. I am the only living heir to my mother. The lawyer called me and asked me to be compliant and hoped that we could get together to divide the assets. My mother owned almost all the property, cars etc. I only know one property that both names stepfather and mother might have owned together. But he has passed and left all to my mother.

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Law Offices of Charles R. Perry
Law Offices of Charles R. Perry | Charles R. Perry
I assume there is no will or trust for your mother, and that everything passes under the . You also should retain a probate attorney to assist you with this matter. This is not to be construed as legal advice, but merely a statement of general legal principles. There may be something about your situation that improves or worstens your position. There are any number of attorneys registered with LawQA who can assist you. I suggest you start contacting some of us to see if we can assist you. Your local bar association may also have a referral panel. Q
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/18/2015
Irsfeld, Irsfeld & Younger LLP | Norman H. Green
Hire a probate lawyer now. You get everything that was your mother's and not obtained from the late husband. If there is real estate that she got from him, then part of it will go to his son if she outlived him by 15 years or less. Other assets that she got from him will go partly to his son only if she outlived him by less than 5 years.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/17/2015
The Schreiber Law Firm
The Schreiber Law Firm | Jeffrey D. Schreiber
If your mother died without a will, then the intestacy laws of the state where she lived at the time of her death will control what happens to her property. Since each state has its own intestacy laws, you will have to determine what the law is in her state. You should consult with your own experienced probate attorney in that state to determine who is entitled to the property and if it needs to be divided, what the percentage would be.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/17/2015
Law Office Of Victor Waid
Law Office Of Victor Waid | Victor Waid
Obtain the services of a probate attorney to represent you.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/17/2015
Law Offices of George H. Shers | George H. Shers
You obviously must bite the bullet and hire a probate attorney. It will be expensive. See if you can get him to let you do some of the work and he basically advises you. Do not have him as attorney of record as court appearances will cost you a lot and you can sometimes just write a brief to cover your position. The judge will be biased against you because they do not like people who represent themselves, no matter how intelligent and calm they are. It sounds as though, if your mother did not adopt the stepson, he does not have much of a case. If your parents lived in a community property state, half of his community property automatically passed to your mother; you have to look up your own state's probate laws as to what occurs to the other half, as to whether she gets all of it or just a portion. Her private property [what she owned before their marriage and did not mix ownership with him] remains her property entirely and would pass to you only. It sounds like the attorney and son are trying to take advantage of you. You will want to probate your mother's estate. There are books you can read to see what to do and what the basic law is [see Nolo Press]; that will also help you in cutting down your attorney fees as you will know what you can do on your own. Most probate attorneys will want to handle the entire case so they can earn a lot of money, so you will probably have to interview many. Good luck.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/17/2015
    Law Ofices of Edwin K. Niles | Edwin K. Niles
    If there was real estate in joint tenancy between Mom and step-dad, that property went to Mom upon his death (you may have to record an affidavit to clear title). Then, when Mom died, her estate should go to you. It sounds as if you need to get your own lawyer ASAP.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/17/2015
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