What rights do I have to assets or the family items that were long before my dad remarried? 7 Answers as of April 07, 2015

My mother passed away 3/2/07 and my father passed away 3/29/15 while married to his second wife. I don't believe either of my parents had a will. Everything my mother and father owned is in the home his second wife moved into. I live in another state. There are family photos, family documents and sentimental items that he had long before he got remarried. I have no paperwork of any kind and I also don't know if his assets were joint. Any and all advice is greatly appreciated.

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Law Ofices of Edwin K. Niles | Edwin K. Niles
Anything owned by dad prior to marriage is his separate property, and you would be entitled to part of that. However, he may have added the new wife to title. You need to have a lawyer in the county of his residence look into it.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/7/2015
Law Office Of Victor Waid
Law Office Of Victor Waid | Victor Waid
You are advised to obtain the services of a probate attorney to investigate the assert question, and maybe file a petition into probate for you as you are a direct heir of your father, assuming no other siblings exist. The house may have been in his name only at death? Do Not Delay, as assets have a way of disappearing.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/7/2015
Goldsmith & Guymon
Goldsmith & Guymon | Dara Goldsmith
In Nevada, if the total assets are $100,000 or less they all go to the new wife unless you or someone else was a joint owner. If the assets was solely in his name or jointly owned with her, then assets up to $1000,000 go to the new wife even if he had a Will providing otherwise.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 4/7/2015
Stephens Gourley & Bywater | David A. Stephens
If there was a will your rights would depend on the will. If there was no will, your rights would depend on the rights of intestate inheritance of the state where your father lived. It is possible the second wife does not even want old photos, etc., and she may just give them to you.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 4/7/2015
Irsfeld, Irsfeld & Younger LLP | Norman H. Green
If your father lived in California and had no will, then, if you are an only child, you get half of his separate property, the widow gets the rest. Generally, separate property is what he owned prior to marriage or acquired subsequently by gift or inheritance. Therefore, you would be entitled to half of the family photos, family documents and sentimental items that he had before he remarried. (if he had more than one child, you and your siblings would equally share two-thirds. Chances are your stepmother doesn't much want most of the old family photos, family documents and sentimental items, and will be glad to part with them, if they still exist. Check to see title to the home, you may be entitled to more than you think.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/7/2015
    James Law Group
    James Law Group | Christine James
    I would make a list of what you want from the house and pay an attorney for an hour of his/her time to write her a nice letter, telling her about the nature of the property (separate property is anything he brought into the marriage), and asking for her cooperation during this difficult time. Your other option is to file a Petition for Probate, but she has priority to do that, and it could be seen as adversarial. If you cannot get her to work with you informally, get an attorney involved.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/7/2015
    WFB Legal Consulting, Inc.
    WFB Legal Consulting, Inc. | William F. Bernard
    In most states in this country when a person dies without a Will, his or her estate must be administered through the intestacy process of the probate court in the county and state where the person last resided before passing. In an intestacy process, the assets of one who has dies are given in degrees to those closest related, namely wife and children (natural and adopted). Based upon what you have written, you may be entitled to a portion of your father's estate under the intestacy laws of the state of CA or where he last resided upon death. Please consult with an attorney in the county and state experienced in estate planning where your father last resided. If you want to inherit from your father's estate, do not sign away any rights without first knowing what assets there are in the estate and their estimated value.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/7/2015
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