Do I have any rights and, if so, what do I need to do?

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Do I have any rights and, if so, what do I need to do?

My mother married a man that had never had any children. My brother and I were grown adults with children of are own. Neither one of us ever lived with them. He was a very wealthy man. Today I found out that he died on March 9, 2017. I was isolated from my family for the past 8 to 10 years. My step father has been in a nursing home for the past 9 to 10 years due to dementia. About 8 months to a year before he was put in the nursing home he accused my son and me of something that was not true. I believe it was due to his

dementia but my mother told me he threatened to divorce her so she stood by him. I know he did not have a will. My mother put right around a million dollars worth of property in my brother’s name about 5 to 7 years ago. Do I have any claims to any of my step father’s estate?

Asked on May 21, 2017 under Estate Planning, Indiana

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

When someone dies without a Will, they are said to have died "intestate". This means that the intestacy or "succession" laws fo the state in which they were domiciled will control. Typcially, the immediate heirs are the surviving spouse, in any, and the children of the deceased. In this case this man was your stepfather, not your adoptive father, therefore you are not a legal heir. Your mother will inherit his estate anf if she has precedeaced him, then the next to inherit will his blood next of kin (i.e. his parents, then his siblings, then his neices/nephews, etc.).


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