If my father died and hadno Will, who inherits?

UPDATED: Aug 1, 2011

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If my father died and hadno Will, who inherits?

My father died in 1999. His wife is my stepmother. He had no Will so she got everything. Is there anything I can do?

Asked on August 1, 2011 South Dakota


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  If a person dies without a Will they are said to have died "intestate."  Each state has a set of laws that governs who will inherit in the event that a person dies without a Will. Generally a wife will get a portion of the estate (either a monetary portion or a third, etc.) and the rest is divided by those who survived.  Once a child is born then they inherit as well.  In some some states it matters if you are a child of the decedent and his/her surviving spouse.  Now, you can only inherit that potion of your Father's estate that was not held jointly with his spouse.  If a house or joint bank accounts are held with rights of survivorship then they are not part of the estate for distribution.  Please seek help in your area.  More information is needed to determine if you were to inherit anything.  Good luck.

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