What are my rights if myfather passed away without a Will and he was married but they were separated?

UPDATED: Aug 31, 2011

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What are my rights if myfather passed away without a Will and he was married but they were separated?

I was unable to handle any of the estate I am the only living child of my father and recently I have found out that his wife sold his company that was passed down from his father long before the marriage and I was not notified of this in any way. I would like to get my dad’s company back because he wanted it to stay in the family and I feel like she took advantage of the fact that I was not financially able to obtain a lawyer and fight her. I would like to know what my rights are now.

Asked on August 31, 2011 Texas


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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss and fo0r the ensuing situation.  Your father dies what is known as intestate, meaning with out a Will.  Each state has a set of laws known as intestacy statutes that govern the way in which a decedent's estate is to be distributed.  Here is the portion of the Texas Intestacy laws that apply to you:


(b) Intestate Leaving Husband or Wife.
Where any person having title to any estate, real, personal or mixed, other than a community estate, shall die intestate as to such estate, and shall leave a surviving husband or wife, such estate of such intestate shall descend and pass as follows:
1. If the deceased have a child or children, or their descendants, the surviving husband or wife shall take one-third of the personal estate, and the balance of such personal estate shall go to the child or children of the deceased and their descendants. The surviving husband or wife shall also be entitled to an estate for life, in one-third of the land of the intestate, with remainder to the child or children of the intestate and their descendants.

You do indeed need to get an attorney here to help you with this matter.  Someone needs to review what has been done "in the name of the estate" by your step-mother and her rights to do so.  If she was appointed as the personal representative of the estate then she may have had the power to sell the company should there have been no prohibition otherwise.  Get help.  Good luck.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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