Who would get my father's inheritance? 4 Answers as of August 26, 2013

Recently my father passed away he left a lot behind such as cars, lands and houses but he didn't leave an inheritance letter. My mom was divorced from him and he had another child with another woman. He was never married to her but they did live together for 16 years. They attorney she is hiring since me and mom can’t afford one says that since he lived with her for so long technically it counts as marriage and she gets 50% of everything while me and my brother each get 25%. The attorney is charging 5,000 to start. Is this reasonable? It saddens me that so much of my dad’s work is going to someone he despised.

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Durham Jones & Pinegar | Erven Nelson
If your father and his 16 year companion were in a common law marriage state, she may be entitled to a spouse's share. If not in a common law state, she is probably entitled to nothing. You should get some legal help, even if by hiring a lawyer to represent you in exchange for a portion of what the lawyer can get for you, or through a legal aid society. Or, you could file a motion with the court for guidance.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 8/26/2013
Ronald Main & Associates | Tracian M. Laignel
The lawyer is going to try and say they were common law man and wife. In Oklahoma to prove common law marriage the couple must have held themselves out as husband and wife to the public and then did actions that would mean they thought of themselves as husband and wife. Some examples would be filing joint tax returns or having banking accounts in both of their names, etc.
Answer Applies to: Oklahoma
Replied: 8/23/2013
Janke Legal Consulting | Bruce C. Janke
Why is this question posted in the Foreclosure Defense section? What is an "inheritance letter"? Do you mean a will? Did your father die in California? California law does not recognize common law marriage, so the other woman has no inheritance rights no matter what her lawyer says. However, her child does. The woman's attorney will have to file a probate proceeding and the court will apportion the estate. The most likely outcome is an equal division among the children.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/23/2013
Danville Law Group | Scott Jordan
Just because they lived together does not make them married and there is no presumption of marriage. The attorney is arguing the Marvin Rule which has very limited application. If the property is his separate property, the rules the attorney stated would not apply. In any event, these matters will need to be argued before a Probate Judge and you should hire an attorney to be on your side.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/23/2013
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