What should the distribution of the estate be? 18 Answers as of November 25, 2013

My roommate's parents are not married, but have lived together for nearly 50 years. There are 5 children total (3 from a deceased wife). No registered, signed, or notarized will.

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Edward L. Armstrong, P.C. | Edward L. Armstrong
The estate of each parent would be distributed to his or her heirs at law. Assuming they are domiciled in the State of Missouri the errors of each would be (since they aren't married to each other) children, and equal shares and if there are no children or their descendants, then to parents, brothers, sisters, and their descendants; if there are no parents brothers sisters and their descendants then to grandparents, etc. etc. since the five children are the children of only one of the parents they would only take from the estate of their deceased parent.. If one of those children had predeceased the parent leaving children then those surviving children (i.e., the grandchildren of the deceased parent) would split the share of their deceased parent equally, per stripes.
Answer Applies to: Missouri
Replied: 11/25/2013
James Law Group
James Law Group | Christine James
Who died? If no will, the legal heirs of the deceased will take which will likely be the children.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/7/2013
Law Office of David T Egli | David T. Egli
Impossible to answer your question based on the information provided. 50 years of living together gives neither parent any right as to the assets of the other parent. California does not recognize common law marriages. Any right the other may have in property of the other will depend upon various factors. Do they hold title to property as joint tenants or tenants in common? Do they have any enforceable agreements regarding property they own? The roommate's parents need to have an attorney set up an estate plans (whether by wills or trusts) for them that make sure property goes to the 5 children the way they want it. Otherwise, the children from the prior marriage could be disinherited and receive nothing should their parent be the first to die.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/7/2013
Stephens Gourley & Bywater | David A. Stephens
If there is no common law marriage, the assets of each will go to their heirs. If there is common law marriage, it will depend on the order and timing of their deaths.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 11/7/2013
James Oberholtzer, Attorney at Law
James Oberholtzer, Attorney at Law | James Oberholtzer
In Oregon, the estate goes to the children equally. Nothing to the domestic partner.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 11/7/2013
    Frederick & Frederick PLC | James P Frederick
    The distribution of property depends on how the assets are titled. If everything is jointly owned, it passes to the surviving joint owner upon death. If an asset is held in one person's name alone, it would pass to that person's "heirs", which would not include the other parent. It would be best for the parents to write out a Will, (at the very least), in order to clarify their intent. They also need power of attorney forms, so they can make decisions for each other, if either one becomes incapacitated.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 11/7/2013
    James T. Weiner & Associates, P.C.
    James T. Weiner & Associates, P.C. | James T. Weiner
    Michigan does not recognize common law marriages so without a will the 5 kids split all his assets unless they pass in a different way (ex are both parents on the title to the house?).
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 11/7/2013
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C.
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C. | Brian Haggerty
    There absolutely has to be two wills in this situation, one for each partner. They need to see a good estate planning attorney and develop one unified plan and create wills. Not doing wills in this case will either mean that the sharpest, greediest of the kids will wind up with everything, or lawyers will end up with everything in the inevitable fighting over the estate of the second of them to die. In either case, excuse me, but it will not be the lawyers' fault. A good estate plan is way less expensive than no plan.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 11/7/2013
    Law Office of Pamela Braynon | Pamela Y. Braynon
    Are the parents deceased? If not a will for each should be written. If they are, because they were not married, each child will own 1/5th of the estate of father's estate. For the mother's estate her two children would own her estate equally. I really can't answer this question properly without knowing all the facts. You will need to see an attorney on this.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 11/7/2013
    Law Offices of Frances Headley | Frances Headley
    With no will, the joint property would go to surviving partner, all property held solely in the name of the decedent would go to that person's biological children and the other children if they could prove a parent-child relationship. Unless the couple own nothing, they should do themselves and everyone else a great favor and execute an estate plan.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/7/2013
    Goldsmith & Guymon
    Goldsmith & Guymon | Dara Goldsmith
    If the Father died and he is survived by 5 children in Nevada, it would be to the 5 children, unless the estate is worth less than #$100K, then it would only be the minor children. Nevada does not have common law marriage so 50 year relationship with mother is of no consequence absent marriage or being registered domestic partners. I suggest that legal counsel be consulted. This information is only intended to give general information in response to an inquiry. It does not establish an attorney client relationship. This response is only based upon the limited facts presented and is merely intended to assist you in determining if you should contact an attorney to provide you with legal advice.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 11/7/2013
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    Your roommate should be consider a child of the deceased under the laws. See an attorney with, and for, details.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 11/7/2013
    Law Office Of Victor Waid
    Law Office Of Victor Waid | Victor Waid
    The distribution should be five ways equally, if the father died last and was the common father of all of the children. If the wife died last, then divided only to the children issuing from her during the 50 years of cohabitation, three ways.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/7/2013
    Peters Law, PLLC
    Peters Law, PLLC | Mark T. Peters, Sr.
    His children will inherit his property, so it will be split 5 ways. She will get nothing from him. Their two children will inherit her property. He will get nothing from her. If they own real estate as joint tenants, that will mess things up a little bit. I would advise them to draft Wills and clear it up before either of them die.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 11/7/2013
    Estrada Law P.C. | Michele Ungvarsky
    That is called an intestate estate and each state has rules to determine how the assets are distributed. Check with an Estate Planning attorney.
    Answer Applies to: New Mexico
    Replied: 11/7/2013
    The Law Office of David L. Leon
    The Law Office of David L. Leon | David L. Leon
    Tell them to see a lawyer and get wills drawn up ASAP. They're going to have major problems when one dies or gets sick.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 11/7/2013
    Law Offices of Robert P Bergman
    Law Offices of Robert P Bergman | Robert P. Bergman
    Your question cannot be answered at all unless you identified who has died and how the title of property may be held by the person who died with others.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/7/2013
    Sebby Law Office
    Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
    The length of time an executor has to settle the estate is generally established by state statute. Usually it's around a year but if the estate is complicated or someone challenges the planned distribution, it may take more time. Only after all the bills and taxes are paid and paperwork is completed will the assets be distributed.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 11/7/2013
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