If my father died in a construction accident 6 years ago and my stepmother sued and won a settlement, what am my siblings and I entitled to?

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If my father died in a construction accident 6 years ago and my stepmother sued and won a settlement, what am my siblings and I entitled to?

At the time of his death we discovered he had no Will. His wife hired lawyers to bring a suit against his employers and other companies to claim responsibility for his death. The lawsuit succeeded and was settled for $1,000,000. Now, what’s next? I know that because he had no Will, she is entitled to 50% and the remaining 50% is to be divided amongst my siblings and I (after legal fees). Is that all? Should we retain a lawyer or will we just be sent some form of compensation?

Asked on October 13, 2014 under Estate Planning, Massachusetts

Answers:

Christine Socrates / Christine Sabio Socrates, Atty at Law

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

I would advise you to consult with an attorney.  If this is a wrongful death suit, the proceeds will not necessarily be distributed under the provisions of the will.  In probate court, the wrongful death settlements are only approved through the court but are distributed under an equitable agreement of the survivng spouse and children of the deceased.  If there is a dispute or an agreement cannot be reached the court will intervene and rule on how the proceeds should be divided.  If you would like assistance in this matter, I would be happy to assist you.  

 


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